The Crusader Newspaper Group

COVID-19 death toll among Chicago Blacks jumped in August, highest since May

The COVID-19 death toll among Blacks doubled in August and is the highest since May, according to a Crusader analysis of the latest data from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The health data reveal that Blacks in Chicago had far more COVID-19 deaths than whites, Latinos and Asians. About 60 Blacks died in August, more than the number of deaths from those three ethnic groups combined. Many of the victims were younger than 50, the Crusader has learned.

The 60 COVID-19 deaths among Blacks in August are nearly twice as high as July, when 31 Blacks died of the disease.

Since January 1, 583 Blacks in Chicago have died of COVID-19. In seven out of eight months this year, Blacks have had more deaths than any other ethnic group in the city despite being just 29 percent of the Chicago population.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, about 2,331 Blacks in Chicago have died from COVID-19. Statewide, COVID-19 has killed 4,430 Blacks, the second-highest behind whites who have had 14,559 deaths.

In Chicago, 24 whites died of the disease in August. That same month, 23 Latinos died, and Asians had no deaths. Members of these ethnic groups have moved on with their lives as the number of COVID-19 deaths among Blacks in the city remains largely unreported in the local news media.

As businesses and life for most Chicago residents continue to return to normal, many Black neighborhoods are still struggling with the lowest vaccination rates in the city. With the Delta variant continuing to rage, the death toll among Chicago Blacks may rise much higher.

The last month where COVID-19 deaths soared among Chicago Blacks was May when 103 died. January was the deadliest month, when 133 Chicago Blacks died of the disease, following a highly publicized surge in cases from the holiday season in 2020.

January was also the deadliest month for whites and Asians, who had 90 deaths and 36 deaths, respectively. February was the deadliest month for Latinos, who lost 80 victims to the disease.

With 57 Black deaths, that was the only month where Blacks did not have the most COVID-19 deaths in Chicago.

Scientists say the Delta variant is twice as deadly and more transmissible than the original Alpha variant, which has killed the majority of 4.5 million people worldwide.

Of the 60 Chicago Blacks who died in August, 31 were males and 29 were females. Zip code 60643, which includes Washington Heights, Morgan Park and Beverly, had the most COVID-19 deaths at six. Austin (60644), South Shore (60649) and Roseland, West Pullman all had five COVID-19 deaths in August.

Seventeen of the 60 Black COVID- 19 victims in August were younger than 50. Twenty-one of the victims were between 51 and 65. Twenty-six victims were older than 66 years old. The youngest COVID-19 victim was a 9-year-old Black boy in Bronzeville, who was later identified as Isaac Young, a quadriplegic who died of pneumonia August 6.

Cook County data show that eight COVID-19 victims died the same day the incident was reported and four died one day after the reported incident.

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection this week said two businesses in Auburn Gresham and one in Chatham were among 20 businesses that received citations last weekend for violating the city’s indoor mask mandate, which went into effect earlier this month amid rising COVID-19 cases.

In Auburn Gresham, Auto Glass Replacement at 8159 S. Halsted St., and the gas station Falcon Fuel & Mini Mart located at 7600 S. Halsted St. received citations. In Chatham, Allen Quality Investments LLC, 117 E. 87th St., was also cited for violating the mask mandate. On the West Side, a citation was issued to The Great Room LLC, 2518 W. Division St., Humboldt Park.

With Labor Day Weekend approaching, students back in school and the African Caribbean International Festival of Life opening on September 11 in Washington Park, there is more potential for the Delta variant to spread.

On Tuesday, August 31, The Chicago Department of Public Health announced that all states except Vermont had been placed on its travel advisory.

The U.S. average daily case rate per 100,000 residents is 39, up from 37.5 a week ago.

“I would not recommend traveling right now if you’ve got unvaccinated children,” Chicago Public Health Chief Dr. Allison Arwady said. “Particularly if you have younger children. The whole country is doing really badly from a COVID perspective right now.”

The CDC has issued new guidance, recommending that unvaccinated travelers test one to three days before travel and test again three to five days after travel, and then quarantine for seven days, regardless if they test negative for COVID-19.

“I know that’s hard for people, but we’re just trying to avoid infection, especially when we’re back in school,” Arwady said. “The bar is a little higher in terms of trying to limit that risk as much as possible, but it will be up to individual schools and school systems to decide how to use that new guidance.”

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