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Blacks Were Never Immune To Covid-19

The exponential spread of the coronavirus over the globe has left huge numbers of the world's residents shaken to their centers as health authorities work to make sense of an answer for the hyper-infectious ailment that is otherwise called COVID-19.

While the coronavirus has found its way on to every landmass except Antarctica, just last month social media timelines were exploding with jokes and rumors that ventured to such an extreme as to pronounce with no trace of evidence that Black people were somehow resistant to the coronavirus. 

A month ago there were no publicly reported cases of COVID-19 victims being black; Africa appeared to be the only inhabitable continent where the virus didn’t gain widespread. The only race-based data about the coronavirus had been about individuals expressing prejudice towards people of Asian descent as if they are at fault for the infection being in America.

Such rumors may have started out as jokes, but they proved to be more dangerous to the black community and others than funny. Many ignored the basic safety instructions expressed by health officials. Precautions like social distancing and avoiding public gatherings were disregarded. Even after state officials issued shelter-in-place orders police officers were still being dispatched to residencies hosting house parties.

Fast-forward to now just a month later; COVID-19 has infected over 50 African countries with close to 10,500 confirmed cases. Over 500 deaths have been reported from the continent. Here in the United States unmistakable evidence has emerged demonstrating that African-Americans are in-fact disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Black Americans in Illinois, for instance, represented 29% of affirmed cases and 41% of fatalities as of Monday morning, yet they make up just 15% of the state's populace, as indicated by the Illinois Department of Public Health, one of several government offices sharing data on who is hardest hit by the infection. Michigan is similar to Illinois, with 34% of COVID-19 cases and 40% of fatalities striking African-Americans, even though just 14% of Michigan's populace is Black. The story is comparative in Wisconsin, Blacks number almost 50% of the 941 cases in Milwaukee County and 81% of its 27 fatalities while the populace is 26%, African-American.

So it turns out that Black people were never immune to the coronavirus, but instead underrepresented in statistical data. For example, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares information on age, sexual orientation, and area of COVID-19 patients, however not their race or ethnicity. The general public would have no way of knowing the racial demographics of COVID-19 infections; leaving room for unintelligible rumors to surface.

This is an example of why it’s not good to use social media and other outside sources alone to decide what personal safety measures you should be taking for yourself and your family. The absence of proof is not proof of absence. It’s better to assume that you can get COVID-19 and that everyone has it; than to assume you can't be infected meanwhile risking infecting yourself, family, and others.