The Crusader Newspaper Group

At least 20,000 Blacks in U.S. have died from COVID-19

Illinois has second highest Black death rate in reporting states

By Erick Johnson

As of June 26, at least 20,000 Blacks in America have died over the last three months from COVID-19, according to a Crusader analysis of data from 33 states that provide statistics by race.

The predominately Black District of Columbia, which the U.S. House recently voted in favor of statehood, had the highest percentage of Black deaths than any state reporting COVID-19 data by race.

Specifically, 19,495 Blacks in America have died from COVID-19. The number is less than a fifth of all 125,803 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., but the number of Black deaths may be higher. Some 19 states do not report data on Black COVID-19 deaths, including Florida, which has experienced a resurgence in infections that has led to a record number of cases in recent weeks.

Overall, as of June 26, over 22 percent of 87,629 COVID-19 deaths in the 33 reporting states were Black.

Among the reporting states, New York has the highest number of COVID-19 Black deaths with 6,948 out of a total 24,814 fatalities. Most of those deaths in the Empire State come from New York City, which was the epicenter of the disease for most of the pandemic.

Illinois has the second highest Black fatalities among reporting states. In Illinois, some 1,914 Blacks have died of COVID-19 out of 6,401 fatalities. Most of those Black deaths come from Chicago, where some 1,117 or 58 percent of the city’s 2,753 fatalities have died from the disease. In Chicago’s predominately Black South Shore neighborhood alone, 111 Blacks have died from COVID-19.

COVID BY STATE FOR PRINTIn Indiana, as of June 26, 14.7 percent of the state’s 2,403 deaths were Black victims.

The state with the lowest COVID-19 death rate among Blacks is Wyoming. Out of 20 deaths in that state, none were Black.

The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of Blacks dying from COVID-19. In the nation’s capital, 74 percent or 403 of the district’s 546 COVID-19 deaths were Black victims. Louisiana had the second highest percentage as Black victims there made up 53 percent of the state’s 3,077 deaths. In Mississippi, over 49 percent of the state’s 1,022 deaths were Black.

The Crusader found that the percentage of Blacks dying from COVID-19 was higher than 40 percent in four states. In two states, the percentage of Black fatalities from the disease was between 30 and 40 percent.

Overall, as of June 26, over 22 percent of 87,629 COVID-19 deaths in the 33 reporting states were Black.

With 19 states not providing specific data on Black COVID-19 deaths, the total number could be much higher. The availability of data by race was a problem when the pandemic struck the U.S. in late February. Many states were not providing such data and the White House promised that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would make such data available. However, the CDC and many states provide COVID-19 race data by listing Blacks under Non-Hispanic, which may include other races.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on June 23, launched a COVID-19 mobile testing pilot program to further the city’s mission of reaching residents in communities that are experiencing a disproportionate impact from the COVID-19 virus. The first community-based mobile testing site began operating last week at Austin Health Center. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, at least 51 people in Austin have died from COVID-19.

There were plans for a second community-based site that will begin operating later in the week at Kennedy King College as operations transition there from the static site to mobile testing. Also beginning Monday June 29 the city will begin operating mobile testing on the Northwest and Southwest sides to specifically serve first responders on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“I am very pleased Chicago is taking this latest, critical step in expanding our city’s testing capabilities with the launch of our mobile pilot program,” said Lightfoot in a statement. “As we continue to safely reopen our city  while still preventing further spread of COVID-19, these additional sites will play a vital role in not only allowing us to continue to increase the number of residents being tested, but to do so equitably in order to support our communities most in need.”

Each mobile testing site will have the capacity to test up to 500 persons per day and will have the flexibility to travel, allowing testing to be directed toward communities most impacted by the virus.

Mobile testing sites will work in close partnership with community organizations to ensure the needs of local residents are being prioritized.

The city will review the success of the pilot based on key metrics of percent positivity and testing volume to determine how to best expand the mobile testing offerings throughout Chicago, which will be done in coordination with outreach from Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response (RERR) team.

The city said new mobile testing will serve first responders. These testing sites will function similar to other city-run mobile testing sites, however they will focus specifically on first responders. Any resident who is not a first responder and would like to be tested is encouraged to visit the local testing center nearest to them.

The testing expansion comes as the city looks to move into phase four of its ‘Protecting Chicago’ reopening framework and must continue meeting its benchmark of 4500 tests per day.

All residents are encouraged to self-monitor and get tested if they meet eligibility criteria, which was expanded last week to allow for testing of anyone who has had a recent high-risk exposure including participation in protests that have happened throughout the city, and as residents continue expanding their social circles amid the citywide reopening.

Diagnostic testing for COVID-19 is free for all residents and, the city strongly encourages anyone who thinks they may need to be tested to visit one of these sites.

Workers at the sites can accommodate several language needs in order to provide the best experience and educate residents. No questions will be asked about citizenship status, and no documentation related to citizenship will be requested.

The data collected for testing appointments whether online or onsite and returned from the tests will only be shared with the City of Chicago’s Department of Public Health.

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