COVID-19 may disproportionately affect black Americans 

Emerging data from a handful of states and cities suggest that COVID-19 is disproportionately sickening black Americans, reports STAT.

Black Americans make up 15 percent of Illinois' population, but accounted for 29 percent of confirmed cases and 41 percent of deaths in the state as of April 6. Similar trends appear in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The data is still limited, but researchers suggest social determinants of health may explain why black Americans with lower incomes are more likely to contract the virus. Individuals in this group may be unable to work from home or may lose their health insurance if they quit their jobs to protect themselves from exposure. They are also more likely to have chronic diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure that put them at risk of severe COVID-19 illness. 

The CDC does not publicly release information on COVID-19 patients' race or ethnicity. Many legal and medical experts are urging the agency to share this information to ensure testing and other healthcare resources are being allocated fairly. 

"We are deeply concerned that African American communities are being hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that racial bias may be impacting the access they receive to testing and healthcare," Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told reporters April 6, according to STAT

The CDC did not respond to the publication's request for comment.

More articles on public health:

1 in 8 Americans know someone with COVID-19
The US populations tested most, least for COVID-19
The 4 benchmarks needed to end social distancing



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