Every St. Louis Resident Who Has Died From COVID-19 Has Been Black
Data continues to confirm that the Black community is being slammed by the coronavirus.
Just as a few cities are beginning to release the demographic data of confirmed COVID-19 cases, St. Louis, Missouri, officials said all of the related deaths have been Black people, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
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St. Louis is among other populous cities that have been battling the rising cases of the coronavirus in the Black community, including New York City, Chicago and Milwaukee County.
Of the total 480 cases, 12 people have died from COVID-19-related complications as of Wednesday. St. Louis County, which has the most Black people in the state, is comprised of 67% white people and is only 24% Black, according to Statistics Atlas.
“If you look at the health disparities in the city of St. Louis, they’re not unique,” city Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols said during a briefing Wednesday.
“Inequities exist across the U.S. and across the world, and it’s posed a challenge for public health agencies, (which) have to address those issues and ensure all individuals, regardless of race, socioeconomic status, income, or educational attainment have access to quality health-related resources,” he added.
Although the city of St. Louis remains under a stay-at-home mandate, which expires on April 22, local officials suspect the order will be extended due to the rising cases.
Echols said St. Louis is expecting to receive additional rapid testing machines to more accurately confirm the total number of cases. The city also plans to set up housing for the homeless community.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said preexisting conditions prevalent in the Black community are a reason for the influx of deaths. He cited particular health conditions like asthma, heart disease and high blood pressure, as Blavity previously reported.
Adams acknowledged the impact the coronavirus has on the Black community, saying "many Black Americans are at a higher risk for COVID."
Other places are being hit hard including Chicago, Milwaukee County and New Orleans. In the state of Louisiana, 70% of coronavirus-related deaths have been in the Black community.
Yet, as the virus slams the Black community, some health officials have explored the idea of racism being a reason for the high number of cases.
Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik told ProPublica racism had been declared a "public health issue."
Lawmakers and Black people across the nation are calling on the CDC to require states to release the racial breakdown of confirmed cases and deaths. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar citing the Trump administration's "alarming lack of transparency" as the barrier preventing health officials from examining the full impact on the Black community.
"We are concerned that Black communities are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and have lower access to COVID-19 testing which may cause delayed care, an increased risk of high mortality rates, and the acceleration of the spread of the disease in our communities," the letter read.