Coronavirus Is Wreaking Havoc on Black People Across the United States
Doctors and nurses from around the country are scrambling to protect vulnerable communities
On April 5, Washington, D.C.’s health department reported 1,097 positive Covid-19 cases and 24 deaths. It is clear that the areas of the city with the most positive cases are majority Black. In Ward 6 and Ward 4, at least 40% of the residents are Black. Ward 7, third on the list, is 92% Black.
Michael Knight, MD, an internal medicine physician at George Washington Medical Faculty Associates, is very concerned about this racial disparity, which is a pattern that has emerged across the United States in the past few weeks. Black people make up a disproportionately large percentage of new positive Covid-19 cases and deaths in major cities all over the United States. Medical and public health professionals around the country say misinformation about the disease in Black communities, together with the long-standing economic, environmental, and health inequities that affect them, are to blame for the trend.
Knight tells Elemental he is worried about how many Black residents of Washington, D.C., will die or have severe health complications because of Covid-19.
“I’m really concerned, because it’s something that did not start in our community, so a lot of people may or may not have taken it seriously or may or may not have thought it was going to affect them personally,” says Knight, a Black doctor. “And unfortunately that allows people to not be prepared, so when it does show up in your community, we’re scrambling now.”
“They’re not training [new delivery drivers] at the office,” she says, “so he had to train two people in his car.”
He says Black people from all over the city, which is 47% Black, have been coming to the testing stations at his medical office and the nearby George Washington University Hospital, which are located in a predominantly White area of D.C. “Everyone was fine, but now Auntie’s sick or Mama’s sick or someone else has symptoms.”
There are a number of reasons why Black people and other people of color in the city…