As new data regarding COVID-19 becomes available at state and local levels, it's become increasingly clear that the outbreak has been disproportionately affecting Black people, especially the most vulnerable living in some of the country's biggest cities.

According to, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards released stats from the State Department of Health Monday that confirmed a gap in health-related racial disparities as the state's Black residents make up 70% of coronavirus deaths.  

“Slightly more than 70% of deaths in Louisiana are African Americans,” Edwards said. “That deserves more attention and we’re going to have to dig into that and see what we can do to slow that down.”'

Since a statewide stay-at-home order was instituted two weeks ago, Edwards reports that cities like New Orleans are no longer on pace to run out of ventilators and hospital beds to treat the sick. The governor warned that officials still need multiple days of data to confirm their belief that restricting personal interactions is bearing results. 

“We are hopeful we’re starting to see the beginning of flattening the curve,” Edwards said. “We have to keep doing everything we’ve been doing to have the best possible outcome.”

Louisiana has one of the highest death rates from the virus in the country. Half of the top 20 counties or parishes nationwide for coronavirus deaths are located in the state, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. 

In Chicago, the numbers look eerily similar. A report from local radio station WBEZ produced new data stating that 70% of those who have died from COVID-19 have been Black. 

Although elected officials in Chicago are strategizing to prioritize communities of color, the disparities affecting these communities — present even before the rise of the novel coronavirus — add to the threat of the outbreak, per the Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. 

“As we put on our health equity lens, we already know [that] before COVID was ever established that the health outcomes for various communities are already different,” she said. “So if you know those disparities exist in terms of health outcomes, you can imagine that overlaying a new disease is only going to exacerbate whatever inequities already exist.”

As of Saturday, Black people accounted for 107 of 183 COVID-19 deaths in Chicago’s Cook County, according to the report. Black people make up 29% of Chicago’s population.

In New York, the national epicenter of the virus, the highest concentration of infections has been in poverty-stricken neighborhoods with large immigrant communities. 

ProPublica reports  81% of people in Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County who have died from the virus have been Black, even though Black residents make up just 26% of the county’s population.