Data shows higher percentage of African Americans dying from COVID-19 in Alabama

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The Alabama Department of Public Health has released statistics about confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths related to the virus.

In the state’s report released Tuesday, there were 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases whose death had been verified by the state.

43.6 %of the people who have died were white. The exact same amount of African Americans have died from the virus.

Alabama Department of Public Health
April 7, 2020

That number becomes more significant when we take into account that African Americans only make up about a quarter of the state’s population according to 2019 census data.

Huntsville residents say these numbers are concerning and they wonder why the black community could be more susceptible.

“I feel like COVID-19 could possibly inflict our population because for one, we have to stay close knit, you have your grandmother and your mother, you have kind of like a second generational family going on,” said LaShaunda Hampton, a resident of Huntsville.

Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health also says the disproportionate mortality rate is concerning.

“Any death is tragic and certainly is it alarming that we are seeing these percentages,” Dr. Landers said.

Alabama isn’t the only state seeing these kinds of numbers.
In Louisiana 70% of the people who have died from the virus were black. African Americans make up 32.7% of the population.

Louisiana Office of Public Health
April 7, 2020

28.61% of people who died in Louisiana from COVID-19 deaths were white. 62.9% of the state’s population is categorized as ‘white alone’.

Illinois Department of Public Health
COVID-19 Deaths
April 7, 2020

In Illinois, 43.3% of people who died from COVID-19 were black. African Americans make up 14.6% of the state’s population.

According to 2019 Census data, 76.9% of the population is ‘white alone’. 36.1% of people who have died from COVID-19 in the state are white.

And in New York, the state hardest hit by the virus, 18% percent of people who have died were black. African Americans only make up 9% of the population of the state. 62% of people who have died from COVID-19 in New York were white.

New York Department of Health
April 7, 2020

Landers says in Alabama, many African Americans lack access to quality health care.
in addition to that…

“This virus can effect anyone and certainly in our African American community we know there are co-morbid conditions, specifically an increase in diabetes in the African American population as well as cardiovascular disease,” she said.

The state’s report shows the majority of people who died had an underlying condition including heart disease and diabetes.

Alabama Department of Public Health
April 6, 2020

“We really just have to protect ourselves because no one else is going to do it for us, but us. And the black community has to stay informed. It has to encourage other communities to protect themselves and right now really we should be staying at home as much as possible,” said Kundai Bajikikayi, Huntsville resident.

Dr. Landers says it’s extremely important for everyone to follow CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, especially for those who have an underlying medical condition.