Hamilton County Assessing COVID-19 Impact On African Americans

Apr 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted African Americans in many communities.  It's true in Hamilton County. 

Some people suggest preliminary data finds more positive cases in the poorest and more non-white zip codes in the county.

Renee Mahaffey Harris with The Center for Closing the Health Gap was asked why during a press briefing Friday morning.

"Besides density, its underlying risk factors: higher percentages of people who are managing multiple comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes and some other disease factors, as well as rates of obesity; and so those disease factors create greater complication when the coronavirus presents itself," Harris said. 

According to Reuters, African Americans are more likely to die of COVID-19 than any other group in the U.S. "The pace at which African Americans are dying has transformed this public-health crisis into an object lesson in racial and class inequality," an email from the Health Gap said.

Harris said communication is key, and many people get that information at businesses that are now closed including salons, barbershops and restaurants.

Harris said the Health Gap is working with a number of partners to share information with minority communities, and answer questions about the coronavirus.  They've created a website, covid19communityresources.com.

Youth Outreach

Meanwhile, one Hamilton County commissioner said leaders need to hear more from young people during the coronavirus outbreak.

Victoria Parks announced the creation of a young adult and youth-led initiative called the Hamilton County #513Survive Council. Children and young adults up to age 26 are able to participate.

"I need young citizens of color who live in Hamilton County to survive," Parks said. "The problem is, leaders never ask young citizens what they want, what they need. As we navigate COVID-19 together I need your help. Will you tell me how you feel, how do you see the future, what do you need to survive?"

Parks is inviting young people to express themselves through art, music, writing or a video.

Those can be shared on social media using #513Survive or emailed to 513Survive@hamilton-co.org. The deadline to submit is May 1.

Young people under 18 will be required to submit a consent form from a parent or guardian.