A study done in eight hospitals in Georgia is shedding a bright light on the impact coronavirus is having amongst African Americans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report, which probed data from 300 patients in seven Atlanta-area hospitals and one near Albany, Georgia, which is a COVID-19 hotspot, showing that 80 percent of coronavirus patients in these locations were Black people. However, Blacks only make up only 32 percent of the state’s population.
“Where you live, what housing you have, what education you have, what your wealth and income is...these will impact your overall health,” Dr. Jeffrey Hines, medical director of Wellstar Health System’s Center for Health Equity, told Atlanta station WSB-TV. “It’s not just anecdotal these are bus drivers, these are folks who have to take the train or bus to work.”
The CDC, which is based in Atlanta, issued a warning to health care providers about treatment for African Americans, who are widely turning out to be disproportionately vulnerable across the nation.
“Given the overrepresentation of Black patients within this hospitalized cohort, it is important for public health officials to ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial/ethnic groups most affected by COVID-19,” the study reads. “Clinicians and public officials should be aware that all adults, regardless of underlying conditions or age, are at risk for serious illness from COVID-19.”
The news comes in the midst of the first full week of Georgia allowing businesses to reopen, which has been met with controversy over its timeliness. The latest figures from the Georgia Department of Health show more than 25,000 confirmed cases and 1,100 deaths.
Hines placed emphasis on testing, but also making sure that people have access to test sites (accessible by walking, biking or a drive) and to create a space where people feel comfortable being tested.
“We need to make it culturally sensitive to get those at-risk people tested. We need to make sure we instruct them on the importance of handwashing and wearing masks even at home,” he said.
In a step towards making testing more available, starting on Thursday, April 30, Atlanta residents will be able to get tested outside in the Home Depot Backyard located outside of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.