AFTER TESTING POSITIVE for COVID-19, superstar actor Idris Elba, who's built a career playing tough, streetwise characters like Baltimore gangster Stringer Bell, went online to set the record straight: Your skin color, he warned, won't protect you from the coronavirus.
"Black people, please, please, please understand that coronavirus, you can get it," Elba said, trying to quash a rumor swirling through cyberspace. "There are so many stupid, ridiculous conspiracy theories about black people not being able to get it. That's dumb, stupid. All right? That is the quickest way to get more black people killed."
Some U.S. physicians and researchers who study the intersection of race and health are joining Elba in sounding the alarm: The highly contagious and potentially deadly virus sweeping across the country is going to hit hard in the black community. And the reasons will reach beyond dangerous rumor-mongering and racially based misinformation.
The documented health disparities between racial groups in the U.S. – including higher rates of chronic diseases and lower access to health care among blacks compared with whites – make some African Americans more vulnerable to COVID-19, experts warn.
"I expect the COVID-19 pandemic to impact African Americans to a greater extent than other more socially advantaged groups," says Dr. Lisa Cooper, an internist and social epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "This is because as a group, African Americans in the U.S. have higher rates of poverty, housing and food insecurity, unemployment or underemployment, and chronic medical conditions, and disabilities."
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS Friday that Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans may become “hot spots” next week as their number of cases grow
Source: US News