Coronavirus Is 3rd Leading Cause Of Death Among Black People In The U.S., Experts Say

Coronavirus Is 3rd Leading Cause Of Death Among Black People In The U.S., Experts Say

Coronavirus is now the third leading cause of death among Black people in the U.S., according to a new study from the Brookings Institution. Photo: A funeral director wears personal protective equipment while collecting a body at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, April 9, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, which is now the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer, according to a new Brookings Institution study.

“If I told you on Jan. 1 that a new virus that we did not even know about would, in August, be the third leading cause of death for Black Americans, our hair should have been set on fire and we would have an extensive public policy response to this unprecedented pandemic,” said Trevon Logan, a professor of economics at the Ohio State University and co-author of the report.

More than 50 percent of Black Americans live in a household where employment income has been lost since mid-March and 20 percent of families live with some form of food hardship, said Bradley Hardy, another author of the study.

Black families, he said, have the challenge of not just pre-existing health conditions but pre-existing economic disparities as well, CBS News reported.

“When you look at the percentage of the death, it’s much higher in Hispanics, Latinos, Blacks than their population size,” Dr. Whyte, Web MD’s chief medical officer, told CBS 46.

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Contributing to the disparities is the lack of testing in Black communities, lack of personal protective equipment relief and poor access to health care that has left many with preexisting conditions more susceptible to the virus, said Whyte.

“We need to have equal access to testing; that means getting more testing centers in those geographical areas where those people may be uninsured, where minority population may live. We need to have access to health care as well, so we need more clinics in under-served areas,” adds Whyte.

Tests performed each day in August dropped by an average of 68,000 compared to the daily rate in late July, according to data from the Covid-19 Tracking Project.

Despite this, coronavirus positivity rates are still higher than the recommended 5 percent in more than 30 states, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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“The testing situation is not good in the United States. What we’re not picking up is people who are contagious,” Dr. William Haseltine, chairman and president of ACCESS Health International, told Channel 3000.

“We’re probably missing eight out of 10 people who are contagious. And any decrease in testing is worrisome because we’re not already doing well. And if you don’t pick people out of a crowd who are contagious, then the epidemic spreads…This epidemic is still spreading widely.”