When COVID-19 Comes to Africa


Black people in Louisiana make up 70% of the deaths in all known coronavirus patients in the state, while only representing about 32% of the population. 

That's according to Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health, who released new statistics on the racial break down of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday. 

According to Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, the founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, the numbers are a reflection of the lack of access African Americans have to the healthcare system in Louisiana. 

"We only represented about 32% of the state, and so for us to be 70% of the deaths means that we are highly over-represented when it comes to dying from COVID-19," Crear-Perry said. "That’s just a reflection of a lack of access to insurance over the years, a lack of access to having medical care, and also the gaps that we see in our social safety net in Louisiana."

While New Orleans is the hardest hit community in the state and has a majority-African-American population (60%), the city still only accounts for around one third of Louisiana's deaths, according to LDH data. 

Neighboring Jefferson Parish, on the other hand, accounts for about a fourth of the state's virus deaths but only has about a 25% black population. 

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