The President of the United States, Donald Trump has said that his government would continue to support African Americans, who he said have been disproportionately affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
He stated this during a White House briefing on the pandemic on Tuesday.
Although there is no nationwide data available on COVID-19 cases by race, a familiar pattern of over-representation by black Americans has emerged in states or jurisdictions that are sharing the information.
Sixty-eight percent of coronavirus deaths in Chicago have been among African Americans, who make up just 30 percent of the city’s population.
“Those numbers take your breath away,” the city’s mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday at a coronavirus briefing.
“This is a call to action for all of us.”
The trend is repeated in North Carolina, Louisiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and the capital Washington.
President Trump said, “We’re actively engaging on the problem of increased impacts; those are real problems and it’s going up really strongly in our data on the African-American community and we’re doing everything in our power to address these challenges – it’s a tremendous challenge; it’s terrible – and provide support to African-American citizens of this country who are going through a lot.
“But it’s been disproportional. We’re getting it very, very hard.”
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The president then called the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the Presidential COVID-19 Response Team, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to shed light on the reasons for the higher impact on the African-American community.
Dr. Fauci blamed pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and asthma, which he said are prevalent among African-Americans for the problems.
He said, “We have a particularly difficult problem of exacerbation of health disparity.
“We’ve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma are disproportionately affecting minority populations particularly the African-Americans.
“Unfortunately, when you look at the pre-disposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with coronavirus, the things that lead people into ICUs, require intubation and often lead to death, they are just those very comorbidities that are, unfortunately, disproportionately, prevalent in the African-American population.
“So, we’re very concerned about that and it’s very sad. There’s nothing we can do about it right now except to try and give them the best possible care to avoid those complications.
The Surgeon-General, Jerome Adams, told CBS on Tuesday that, “We know that blacks are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease.”
Adams, who is himself black and has high blood pressure and asthma, added: “I represent that legacy of growing up poor and black in America.
“And I, and many black Americans, are at higher risk for COVID.”