• Editor-in-Chief

The Color of COVID

By: Anne O.

On or around April 8, 2020, the reports began emerging, stating that African-Americans (Black Americans) suffered disproportionately from the onset of COVID 19, and even experienced higher mortality rates. Despite the availability of data for only 25% of the victims during that time, the media ran with the story, and the inevitable attribution to racism followed. Death statistics focused on the NY-NJ-CT area. Later, reports from Chicago and Atlanta “seemed” to corroborate these reports. The disproportionate impact stemmed from high levels of tobacco and alcohol usage, cardiovascular disease, asthma, weight, poverty, and even ignorance. While Black Americans fulfill the role of “lab experiment subjects” of American media and academia, Black Americans were identified as the great “Other” of this pandemic.

Moving forward to May, diminished media coverage of this topic leads one to investigate the outcome and continuation of this narrative. National Review analyzed the statistics, and the purported disproportionate result cannot by any means be considered absolute, and the earlier description might have missed the mark. Some of the assumptions earlier in April were challenged. A major myth considered to be fact states that the majority of Black Americans are in poverty, (actually only 20%) and cannot afford health insurance. A second myth destroyed pertains to living conditions, as 61% of Black Americans live in suburbs, small towns, or rural areas, and not the city. If the media lies and perpetuates stereotypes and myths regarding the impact of COVID 19 in this manner, one must wonder if other widely-reported “facts” are true.

HINT: On May 20, in Ohio, for instance, Black Americans comprised 13.7% of COVID 19 deaths while making up 23% of the population on a weighted basis, results that deny the prevailing narrative. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites in the death toll outnumbered this group’s weighted and unweighted population percentages. The economic rebound will carefully follow the facts of the epidemic’s onset and not the prevailing media myths.

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