The new covid-19 mutations and variants that have emerged from South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil may hit Black U.S. communities hardest, based on last year’s disproportionate death rates among African Americans.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one in every 792 Black Americans has died in connection with the coronavirus — about three times the rate among white people.
This higher death rate is attributed to a “toxic mix of inadequate health care, unequal vaccine distribution and hesitancy to get the shots,” according to Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Approximately 56,000 Black deaths have been recorded due to covid-19 in the U.S, although this figure could be understated.
“The bottom line is that we are losing thousands of Black moms, dads, brothers, and sisters in their 40s, 50s, and early 60s to covid-19,” Hotez wrote in an article published by the Daily Beast.
“We are moving to a new reality in which, soon, most Black people may know someone personally who has lost their life to covid-19.”
New coronavirus variants first identified in South Africa, the U.K. and Brazil appear to spread faster and have already been reported in 32 U.S. states.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last week that the South African variant “troubles me”. Preliminary evidence has indicated that the Moderna and Novavax vaccines may be less effective against this variant than other vaccines.
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But even with vaccinations ongoing against covid-19, Black American communities are falling behind white ones for vaccination rates.
A study done in 16 states showed that vaccination of whites outpaced that of Black people by two to three times.
“Covid-19 is about to become even more contagious, and possibly more lethal,” Hotez said. “A perfect storm is brewing in Black communities across America.”
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