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Blacks make up 80 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Georgia, CDC says

(Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / preecha2531)

A new study reveals how Blacks in Georgia are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 

According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, of those patients hospitalized in Georgia with COVID-19 in March,  83.2 percent were Black, 10.8 percent were White,  3.4 percent were Hispanic, and 2.7 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander.

The study was based on a sample of 305 adult patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who were being treated at eight Georgia hospitals — seven in metropolitan Atlanta and one in the southern part of the state.

The median age of the patients involved in the study was 60 years old. Furthermore, 73.8 percent of the patients had conditions considered high-risk for COVID-19, such as diabetes (39.7 percent); cardiovascular disease (25.6 percent);  asthma (10.5 percent); and severe obesity (12.7 percent).

Twenty-two of patients who did not have high-risk conditions were admitted to the ICU, and 5 percent died while in the hospital.

The study also revealed that the number of hospitalized patients who were Black was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions. It also showed that Black patients were not more likely than non-Black patients to be placed on ventilators or to die during hospitalization.

Due to issues that often stem from racial injustice, Blacks often lack access to adequate health care and healthy food options that could lead to preexisting health conditions.

Earlier this month, Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp decided to allow some businesses to reopen in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, starting with barbershops, nail salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys on Friday, April 24, and followed by restaurants and movie theaters on Monday, April 27. This Friday, May 1, retail shopping malls will be allowed to reopen.

Kemp has ignored medical officials by claiming data was on his side.

“I was making the decision based on the data, based on my discussions with Dr. Kathleen Toomey (commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health), and where we were in our state and where I felt like we needed to go,” Kemp said during a press conference on April 21.

After Kemp’s initial reopening of the state, Georgia state Sen. Donzella James revealed why she was upset about the governor’s decision.

“I’m very concerned. I’m opposed to it,” James said in an interview with rolling out. “I thought the precautions were working, and we were slowing down the number of people who were being infected. He’s opening the economy, but what is he doing to the people? I’m very concerned. We have written a letter asking him to rescind this.”