Cases double in North and South Lawndale on West Side
By Erick Johnson
Chicago’s Black neighborhoods are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, according to a Crusader analysis of information released by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The number of COVID-19 cases more than doubled in North and South Lawndale on the West Side while Chatham and Greater Grand Crossing have more people who were infected than most Black neighborhoods, according to the latest health data by zip codes.
State data shows nearly all of Chicago’s Black neighborhoods saw big jumps in reported COVID-19 cases. This week, 4,028 people in more than 30 Black neighborhoods have been infected with the virus. That’s a 66.85 percent jump from last week where 2,414 residents had COVID-19.
The spike in cases comes as Governor J.B. Pritzker announced new sites to increase testing of the coronavirus in underserved, predominately Black neighborhoods.
Most of the neighborhoods that reported COVID-19 cases are on the South Side.
However, some neighborhoods on Chicago’s West Side are emerging as hotspots. A combined 268 coronavirus cases have hit North and South Lawndale. That’s a 117.8 percent increase over the 123 cases recorded from the previous week.
West Lawn saw the second highest jump with 255 cases, an 87.5 percent jump from the 136 cases reported the previous week.
South Shore, which more than a week ago had the highest number of Blacks (six) dying from COVID-19, had the third highest jump with 198 cases. That’s an 85.07 percent increase from the 107 cases reported the prior week.
Auburn, Beverly, Morgan Park and Washington Heights had the fourth highest spike after reporting 246 cases, a 76.97 percent jump from the previous week.
Other neighborhoods with high spikes In COVID-19, include Austin, West Garfield Park, West Englewood, Washington Park, Woodlawn and Auburn Gresham.
The affluent, diverse Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods had the lowest jump with a combined 131 COVID-19 cases. That’s a 35.05 percent jump from 97 cases from the previous week.
The dramatic differences reinforce concerns that residents in more affluent neighborhoods have more access to health care than their poorer counterparts.
The second smallest jump in COVID-19 cases occurred in Pullman, West Pullman and Roseland, where testing first responders for the virus enters its second full week at Roseland Community Hospital. Those neighborhoods have a combined 268 cases, a 38.86 jump from 193 cases reported last week.
The zip code with the highest number of cases is 60620, Auburn Gresham, which has 359 cases.
Last week 216 people were infected there. In the zip code 60619, which includes Chatham and Greater Grand Crossing, there were 306 cases as opposed to 188 from last week.
Meanwhile, the warmer weather is tempting residents to venture outdoors after being confined to their homes under a stay-at-home order that has now been in effect for an entire month.
Last week, police arrested three men when they refused to disburse during a gathering to remember a man who died after being shot in the Gresham neighborhood. According to reports, 40 to 50 people were in attendance for the street memorial.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases prompted three Black aldermen to hold a press conference April 10 at the 6th district police station to urge residents in their wards to obey the state’s stay-at-home order, which Pritzker is heavily considering extending beyond the April 30 deadline.
Aldermen David Moore (17), Howard Brookins (21) and Derrick Curtis (18) are concerned their residents are not taking the stay-at-home order seriously. Figures show African Americans have been hit the hardest by the novel coronavirus.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, African Americans have been hit hard. We encourage all residents, but specifically those in our respective wards, to adhere to the stay-at-home order over the next three weeks as the coronavirus reaches its peak,” says Alderman Moore.
“The life residents save may be their own,” added Alderman Curtis. “This virus doesn’t discriminate against race, age or gender. When you return back to your home with your loved ones the virus could be in your clothes or on your skin. Therefore, it is your responsibility to take care of your relatives and stay at home.”
Moore warned that warmer weather should not be an excuse for ignoring the stay-at-home order.
The three aldermen say the prospect of the curve flattening is not an all-clear sign.
They asked police to continue to break up all gatherings and for residents to understand the stay-at-home order is not a punishment, but a precaution to prevent the virus from spreading.