Trump White House is worried that the COVID-19 outbreak is disproportionately hitting African Americans harder than other groups and are working with state and local officials to begin tracking how the coronavirus impacts different ethnicities.
Dr. Anthnony Fauci, who sits on President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, said the COVID-19 outbreak is “shining a bright light” on how “unacceptable” the health disparities between blacks and whites are. “Yet again, when you have a situation like the coronavirus, they are suffering disproportionately,” Fauci said of minorities.
“It’s not that they are getting infected more often. It’s that when they do get infected, their underlying medical conditions … wind them up in the ICU,” he said at a White House press conference Tuesday.
Public health officials have known that conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma disproportionately affect African Americans, Fauci said. “Unfortunately, when you look at the predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with coronavirus, the things that get people into ICUs that require incubation that often lead to death, they are just those very comorbidities.”
Dr. Deborah Birx , coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said officials are working with black communities to improve messaging on the risks of the virus.
“We don’t want to give the impression that the African American community is more susceptible to the virus. We don’t have any data that suggests that. What our data suggests is they are more susceptible to more difficult and severe disease and poorer outcomes,” she said.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta says the number of deaths from Covid-19 among African Americans is a “significant manifestation” of “long-standing structural inequalities. And something has to be done about it.”