The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting this country’s African American population especially hard. Many of its victims have existing medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the disease’s most lethal effects.
In this week's episode of the Dialogue MN podcast with host Jim du Bois, University of Minnesota Professor of African American and African Studies Keith Mayes discusses how the social and healthcare inequities that existed prior to the coronavirus crisis have contributed to its disproportionate impact on communities of color.
Is Minnesota doing a better job of protecting communities of color?
"I think that Minnesota as a state has done an extremely good job in bending the curve," said Mayes. "Because we are still early in the pandemic...I think we may see some different numbers in the weeks and months to come in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
"I'm especially interested to see if the morbidity disparities play out here in the Twin Cities as they are playing out in other places. I suspect that they will, but we just haven't seen it yet."
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, blacks have accounted for 13% of the 4,644 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far, while whites have accounted for 46% of confirmed cases.
Sixty-eight percent of the state's 319 deaths have been whites, while five percent have been blacks. However, approximately 25% of all cases and deaths haven't been profiled, so the numbers are preliminary at this point.