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Black America and COVID-19

Documenting the impact of COVID-19 on Black America.

HEALTH

      Infectious diseases continue to claim the lives of African-Americans disproportionately. Growing up in the 1980's I saw first hand how infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS took the lives of my African-American family members and other African American families living on the Lower East Side, New York City. Almost forty years later, African-American communities are still notably impacted by HIV/AIDS. However, once again, I find myself on the front line of witnessing African-American communities in New York City being disproportionately impacted by a new infectious disease known as "the novel Coronavirus" or Covid-19. Ed Pilkington of the Guardian.com notes that "across the country, African Americans have died at a rate of 50.3 per 100,000 people, compared with 20.7 for whites, 22.9 for Latinos and 22.7 for Asian Americans." (Pilkington, 2020 p.1).      

         In April 2020, during the height of Covid-19, I was deployed to work in the nursing department of a major medical center in Brooklyn. As a medical tech, my job is to provide patient care and work along with nurses and doctors as we oversee care for our patients. I saw first hand how Covid-19 impacted new Yorkers of all racial groups. While this disease affected men more than women, African-American women and men with Covid-19 often had other comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, heart issues. Watching many of my patients succumb to Covid-19 was tough. The fear I saw in my African-American patients reminded me of the same fear I saw in my relatives' faces, as they died of HIV/AIDS.  While many African-American Covid-19 patients died alone, as many other Covid-19 patients did, far removed from family and friends who loved them, I noticed that some African-American families used technology to document and stay connected to their loved ones afflicted with Covid-19. One African-American COVID-19 patient's daughter insisted on having her mother's iPhone 24/7 so she could see her mother, and see the care being rendered to her mother. The daughter sang songs, reminded her now the comatose mother about events during much happier times, and often prayed for her mother. Many African-American families and other families with loved ones hospitalized with Covid-19 utilized phone technology to check-in and document the experiences of their loved ones as best as possible. Seeing how important technology has become to Covid-19 patients and their families gives me hope in new ways to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations using technology. As a Public Health Practitioner and clinician tech, understanding why pandemics continue to impact communities of color is important.

Co-Curator:  Michele Thorpe, New York University, Public Health (MPH) Candidate

Keyword Search Terms:  covid-19, coronavirus, test kits, vaccine, clinical trials, virus, contact tracing, surge, hot spot, epicenter, masks, asymptomatic, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE,) ventilators, overrun, test, health injustice

Title Source Image

What the Racial Data Show: The pandemic seems to be hitting people of color the hardest.
The Atlantic
Ibram X. Kendi
April 6, 2020
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-exposing-our-racial-divides/609526/

news MIM.GIRL / SHUTTERSTOCK / THE ATLANTIC
What the COVID-19 Pandemic Means for Black Americans: The bias built into the health system means they will have worse outcomes on average if they get sick
Scientific American
Uché Blackstock
April 7, 2020
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/what-the-covid-19-pandemic-means-for-black-americans/
blog Credit: Getty Images

Epidemics and Health Disparities in African American Communities: A Conversation with David R. Williams
The Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Hosted by Evelynn M. Hammonds
April 9, 2020
https://youtu.be/vC1FTLGS0Zw

View the original event page here

event, webcast, video Epidemics and Health Disparities in African American Communities

With coronavirus, racism is the underlying condition
Boston Globe
Jeneé Osterheldt
April 10, 2010
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/04/10/nation/with-coronavirus-racism-is-underlying-condition/

news A man wearing a mask walked past Brooklyn's Sogho Express African Hair Braiding salon, which is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.MARK LENNIHAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
An unequal crisis: Addressing the intersectional dimensions of COVID-19
YW Boston
Beth Chandler, Dr. Julie Levison, and Dr. Jonathan Jackson
April 14, 2020
https://www.ywboston.org/2020/04/an-unequal-crisis-addressing-the-intersectional-dimensions-of-covid-19/

View the webinar here
 
event, webinar, video undefinedAn unequal crisis: Addressing the intersectional dimensions of COVID-19
COVID-19 targets communities of color
The Harvard Gazette
Colleen Walsh
April 14, 2020
https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/04/health-care-disparities-in-the-age-of-coronavirus/
news Jonnica Hill/Unsplash
COVID-19 pandemic highlights longstanding health inequities in U.S.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
April 14, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/covid-19-pandemic-highlights-longstanding-health-inequities-in-u-s/

Read the New Yorker article here
news The coronavirus crisis is revealing the inequities inherent in public health due to societal factors, Nancy Krieger, a professor of social epidemiology, says.Photograph by Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty

The Myth of Innate Racial Differences Between White and Black People’s Bodies: Lessons From the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A Conversation with Rana Hogarth
The Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Hosted by Evelynn M. Hammonds
April 16, 2020
https://youtu.be/RxzceX2qM-g

View the original event page here

event, webinar, video 'The Myth of Innate Racial Differences Between White and Black People’s Bodies: Lessons From the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania'
Who's Hit Hardest By COVID-19? Why Obesity, Stress And Race All Matter
NPR
Allison Aubrey

April 18, 2020
www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/04/18/835563340/whos-hit-hardest-by-covid-19-why-obesity-stress-and-race-all-matter
news An EMT wearing protective equipment moves a patient into Elmhurst Hospital Center in the Queens borough of New York. Preliminary data suggest COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Bloomberg via Getty Images
How Poor Diet Contributes to Coronavirus Risk
New York Times
Jane E. Brody
April 20, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/20/well/eat/coronavirus-diet-metabolic-health.html
news Gracia Lam
Growing Data Underscore that Communities of Color are Being Harder Hit by COVID-19
Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)
Samantha Artiga, Kendal Orgera, Olivia Pham, and Bradley Corallo
April 21, 2020
https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-policy-watch/growing-data-underscore-communities-color-harder-hit-covid-19/
news KFF

Lessons Not Learned: Smallpox and African Americans in the 1860s: A Conversation with Jim Downs
The Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Hosted by Evelynn M. Hammonds
April 23, 2020
https://youtu.be/uRbktjWfyh4

View the original event page here

event, webinar, video Lessons Not Learned: Smallpox and African Americans in the 1860s “ Hosted by Professor Evelynn Hammonds -- A Conversation with Professor Jim Downs

To Protect Black Americans from the Worst Impacts of COVID-19, Release Comprehensive Racial Data: Properly reported information is crucial for black communities to recover from this crisis and transcend a history of exclusion
Scientific American
Joia Crear-Perry and Michael McAfee
April 24, 2020
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/to-protect-black-americans-from-the-worst-impacts-of-covid-19-release-comprehensive-racial-data/

blog Credit: Getty Images
Racial Variations in COVID-19 Deaths May Be Due to Androgen Receptor Genetic Variants Associated With Prostate Cancer and Androgenetic Alopecia. Are Anti-Androgens a Potential Treatment for COVID-19?
PubMed
John McCoy, Carlos G Wambier, Sergio Vano-Galvan, Jerry Shapiro, Rodney Sinclair, Paulo Müller Ramos, Kenneth Washenik, Murilo Andrade, Sabina Herrera, and Andy Goren
April 25, 2020
pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32333494/

View the letter here
letter PubMed

'There Wasn’t a Lot of Comfort in Those Days:' African Americans, Public Health, and the 1918 Influenza Epidemic: A Conversation with Vanessa Northington Gamble
The Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Hosted by Evelynn M. Hammonds and Vanessa Northington Gamble
April 30, 2020
https://youtu.be/TOPGQJWIick

View the original event page here

event, webinar, video Evelynn M. Hammonds and Vanessa Northington Gamble: "'There Wasn’t a Lot of Comfort in Those Days:' African Americans, Public Health, and the 1918 Influenza Epidemic"

Health, Inequity, and COVID-19
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Mary T. Bassett and Khalil Gibran Muhammad
May 1, 2020

View the original event page here

event, webinar, video Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
The COVID-19 Response Is Failing Communities of Color: To build trust with traditionally underserved groups, health officials need to craft their messaging in a much more culturally sensitive way
Scientfic American
Margaret S. Pichardo, Briana Christophers, and Gezzer Ortega
May 7, 2020
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/the-covid-19-response-is-failing-communities-of-color/
blog Credit: Getty Images
The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying: The pandemic has exposed the bitter terms of our racial contract, which deems certain lives of greater value than others.​
The Atlantic
Adam Serwer
​May 8, 2020
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/americas-racial-contract-showing/611389/
news ARSH RAZIUDDIN / THE ATLANTIC
THE FIRST 100: COVID-19 Took Black Lives First. It Didn’t Have To.
ProPublica Illinoins
Duaa Eldeib, Adriana Gallardo, Akilah Johnson, Annie Waldman, Nina Martin, Talia Buford, and Tony Briscoe
​May 9, 2020
https://features.propublica.org/chicago-first-deaths/covid-coronavirus-took-black-lives-first/
news Nathan Asplund for ProPublica

Questions of Bias in Covid-19 Treatment Add to the Mourning for Black Families: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised health professionals to be on the lookout for medical bias.
The New York Times
John Eligon and Audra D. S. Burch
May 10, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/10/us/coronavirus-african-americans-bias.html

news undefinedAmi Relf, right, holds a photo of her brother Reginald Relf alongside her mother, Cleona Relf, outside her mother’s home in Bellwood, Ill. Mr. Relf died there while quarantining in the basement after experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.Credit...Joshua Lott for The New York Times

I’m Sick of Asking Children to Be Resilient, It’s time for reparations and resources and to not expect kids to “rise above.”
The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/12/opinion/flint-inequality-race-coronavirus.html

news, opinion undefined

AFRICA & COVID-19 WEBINAR SERIES: SHARED EXPERIENCES WITH COVID-19 IN AFRICAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
Harvard African Studies
Moderated by Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong
​Dr. John Nkengasong, Evelynn Hammonds, and Professor David Williams
https://africa.harvard.edu/event/africa-covid-19-webinar-series-african-and-african-american-experiences-covid

Watch the video here

event, webinar, video AFRICA & COVID-19 WEBINAR SERIES: SHARED EXPERIENCES WITH COVID-19 IN AFRICAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES

Conversations with Dean Khurana, Featuring Professor Evelynn Hammonds
Harvard College
Rakesh Khurana and Evelynn Hammonds
May 22, 2020
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1wHo_joLc8

(*Note:  Listserv of Materials on the Topic)

video Harvard College
It's Not Obesity. It's Slavery. 
New York Times
Sabrina Strings
May 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/opinion/coronavirus-race-obesity.html
opinion People waiting for a distribution of masks and food in Harlem, New York City.Credit...Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press
Pulmonary and cardiac pathology in African American patients with COVID-19: an autopsy series from New Orleans
The Lancet​
Sharon E Fox, MD; Aibek Akmatbekov, MD; Jack L Harbert, MD; Guang Li, MS; J Quincy Brown, PhD; and Prof Richard S Vander Heide, MD
May 27, 2020
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20)30243-5/fulltext

View the article here
article
Poll Shows Only A Quarter Of African Americans Plan To Get Coronavirus Vaccine
NPR
Brakkton Booker
May 27, 2020
https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/27/863401430/poll-shows-only-a-quarter-of-african-americans-plan-to-get-coronavirus-vaccine
news
WHITE SUPREMACY IS A THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH
Sojourners
Robert P. Jones
May 29, 2020
https://sojo.net/articles/white-supremacy-threat-public-health
blog
Prioritizing Equity video series: The Root Cause
American Medical Association (AMA)
Moderator Aletha Maybank
Camara Jones, M.D, MPH, PhD; Evelyn Green Davis; Brian Smedley, PhD; Zinzi Bailey, ScD, MSPH; Jay Weiss; Joia Crear-Perry, MD; JonathanMetzl, MD, PhD; and Whitney Pirtle
​June 3, 2020
www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/health-equity/prioritizing-equity-video-series-root-cause

Watch the video here
event, webinar, video
COVID-19 and Health Equity: A Policy Platform & Voices from Health Departments
ALPHA
June 4, 2020
https://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/apha-calendar/webinar-events/2020/covid-19-and-health-equity

View the Human Impact Partner’s Health Equity Policy Platform for COVID-19 Response and Recovery here
event, webinar
Black Americans face higher COVID-19 risks, are more hesitant to trust medical scientists, get vaccinated
Pew Research Center
John Gramlich and Cary Funk
June 4, 2020
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/06/04/black-americans-face-higher-covid-19-risks-are-more-hesitant-to-trust-medical-scientists-get-vaccinated/
news
Op-ed: ‘Racism is a public health crisis’
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
June 4, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/racism-is-a-public-health-crisis/

Read The Washington Post article here
op-ed
Black U.S. adults follow many COVID-19 news topics more closely, discuss the outbreak more frequently
Pew Research Center
Amy Mitchell and Mark Jurkowitz
June 5, 2020
https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/06/05/black-u-s-adults-follow-many-covid-19-news-topics-more-closely-discuss-the-outbreak-more-frequently/
news
Racism, Not Genetics, Explains Why Black Americans Are Dying of COVID-19: Some scientists and politicians have invoked baseless ideas about unknown genes, ignoring systemic inequality and oppression
Scientific American
Clarence Gravlee
June 7, 2020
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/racism-not-genetics-explains-why-black-americans-are-dying-of-covid-19/
blog
#ShutDownSTEM marks researchers’ commitment to ending racism
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
June 9, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/shutdownstem-marks-researchers-commitment-to-ending-racism/

Read the Science Magazine article here
news
Structural Racism and Health Equity Town Hall
Columbia University
Olajide Williams, MD, MS and Robert E. Fullilove, EdD
June 11, 2020
https://zuckermaninstitute.columbia.edu/structural-racism-and-health-equity-town-hall

Watch the video here
event, town hall, video
A black ER doctor reflects on everyday encounters with racism
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
June 11, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/a-black-er-doctor-reflects-on-everyday-encounters-with-racism/

Read The Washington Post article here
news
Racism can erode physical well-being
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
June 12, 2020
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jun/12/racism-public-health-black-brown-coronavirus

Read The Guardian article here
news
Experts: Health care system’s racial bias contributes to COVID-19 disparities
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
June 14, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/experts-health-care-systems-racial-bias-contributes-to-covid-19-disparities/

Read the USA Today article here
Watch the video here
news, video
Ohio Lawmaker Implies That Hygiene May Be Reason Black Americans Have Higher Covid-19 Rates, Here Is The Backlash
Forbes
Bruce Y. Lee
June 17, 2020
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2020/06/17/ohio-lawmaker-implies-that-hygiene-may-be-reason-black-americans-have-higher-covid-19-rates-here-is-the-backlash/#1b9d97904255
news
Perspective: Racism is ‘pernicious, pervasive, cutting short lives’
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
June 17, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/perspective-racism-is-pernicious-pervasive-cutting-short-lives/

Read the Economist article here
Read the Boston.com article here
news
Ending racial injustice in health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
June 18, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/ending-racial-injustice-in-health/

Read the TIME article here
news
Turning the words ‘racism is a public health crisis’ into action
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University
Karen Feldscher and Mary Bassett
June 18, 2020
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/mary-bassett-racism-public-health/
interview

COVID Exposes “Significant Racial Health Inequities” as Black, Brown & Indigenous People Suffer Most
Democracy Now
July 08, 2020

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/7/8/racial_disparities_healthcare_coronavirus

Video  

www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/HEQ.2020.0015

journal  

 

 

 

https://www.mass.gov/news/department-of-public-health-releases-recommendations-of-covid-19-health-equity-advisory-group?tm_medium=email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=weekly-digest&utm_content=&utm_term=&utm_name=&uid=&skey=0000085934&emailid=135852    

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/opinion/coronavirus-race-obesity.html

 

   

https://scholar.harvard.edu/davidrwilliams/covid-19-media

 

   
https://learnaboutcovid19.org/    

We Need to Recruit More Black Americans in Vaccine Trials

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/11/opinion/vaccine-testing-black-americans.html?referringSource=articleShare

   

Six Months of the Coronavirus in Black America

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/09/black-america-coronavirus-deaths-explanation.html
   
https://www.npr.org/transcripts/911987987