At least 629 Blacks in America have died from COVID-19 and nearly 22,000 are infected. With now over 14,000 deaths in the U.S., the figures could be much higher as 41 states do not report deaths by race
By Erick Johnson
At least 629 Blacks have died from COVID-19 and nearly 22,000 people of color have been infected by the disease, according to a Crusader analysis of information of state health departments in all 50 states. Louisiana and Illinois have the highest number of reported deaths, the Crusader has learned.
The figures are likely to be much higher because 41 states do not report COVID-19 deaths and cases based on race, the Crusader found. With the death toll now over 14,000, there is concern that Blacks make up a majority of that number.
In the South, which has the nation’s highest Black population, seven states do not report COVID-19 data by race or ethnicity, according to our analysis.
Despite their large Black populations, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are among dozens of states that do not report the escalating number COVID-19 cases by race. New York, the epicenter of the health crisis in the U.S., has more than 78,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths, the highest in the country. However, the number of Black cases and deaths from the disease cannot be determined because New York state does not provide data on people of color or other ethnic groups.
Responding to political leaders’ demands for information based on race, New York City’s health department released preliminary data that shows 428 Blacks in the city have died from COVID-19.
New York City has the largest Black population, more than any city in the country, with over 1.8 million people of color. The city did not provide data showing the number of COVID-19 cases by race.
The group was second to Latinos who had led the city with 521 deaths.
The lack of information has gained the attention of Black leaders and the White House as President Donald Trump struggles to stop the spread of the pandemic. Public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans disapprove of the way he has handled the health crisis.
Out of the reported 629 Blacks who have died from COVID-19, Louisiana has the largest number of deaths with 407. That is 65 percent of all reported deaths in the country. Illinois has the second highest with 129, which is 21 percent of the Black deaths. Florida is third, with 43 out of 324 COVID-19 deaths affecting the state’s Black residents.
In Minnesota, none of the state’s 34 deaths include Blacks.
Michigan, South Carolina and Virginia do not report deaths by race, however those states do report COVID-19 cases by race.
With rising deaths in Detroit, which has the largest percentage of Black residents in the country, Michigan is likely to be among the states with the highest number of Blacks dying from the virus.
However, Michigan has the highest number of Black COVID-19 reported cases, which is 6,260 or 25 percent of 21,893 cases involving people of color in eight states.
Florida is the second highest in Black cases with 13,214 and Illinois is third among reporting states, with 12,262.
Louisiana, which had the highest number of Black deaths than any reporting state, does not report the number of COVID-19 cases by race or ethnicity.
The reporting state which has the lowest number of Black COVID-19 cases is Minnesota, which in addition to having 0 Black deaths has 75 COVID-19 cases involving people of color. That’s just seven of the state’s 1,069 cases. Minnesota’s Black population is 336,671 out of 5,611,179 residents, according to the U.S. Census Reporter.
Of the nation’s four geographic regions, the South has the nation’s highest Black population with 27,189,482 Black residents. Of 16 southern states as defined by the U.S. Census, only provided COVID-19 data by race the Crusader found.
No state in the West region provides such data and in the Midwest, only three out of 12 states –Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota- have reported COVID-19 data by race or ethnicity.
New York and Connecticut are the only two states from the North region to report demographic information on COVID-19 cases.
With most states not keeping racial data on COVID-19 cases, lawmakers and Black leaders are calling for states to reverse course to help identify America’s most vulnerable population during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lack of data was discussed during a virtual town hall meeting by the Congressional Black Caucus, where Illinois Congresswoman Robyn Kelly said if information about gender is reported, so should race.
Black leaders say with more detailed information on COVID-19 deaths and cases, federal, state and local resources could be properly directed and used to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week said it is collecting racial data from states, but the agency said some of the data is not complete and has not been submitted.
During a White House briefing Tuesday, April 7, President Trump and Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Blacks are being hit hard by the coronavirus, becoming a “tremendous challenge”
Trump said during the briefing that national data on race and coronavirus cases should be available this week.