When the COVID-19 pandemic initially started there was fear that it would have an inordinate impact on black communities. In Michigan, those fears are sadly coming to life.
Detroit Free Press reports that black people make up the majority of both coronavirus cases and deaths in Michigan. Of the 10,791 cases reported so far, 35 percent of them are black. There have been 431 deaths; 30 percent of which have been black. White people make up 25 percent of cases and 26 percent of deaths. The races of the remaining cases and deaths are unknown.
This is the first time race has been a factor in Michigan’s coronavirus data. Last week, The Root reported that doctors wanted race to be a factor when reporting coronavirus statistics; the reason being that given the history of black communities being underserved when it comes to quality healthcare, this data could help point out disparities in testing and care.
Now, this data doesn’t paint the entire picture. We don’t know how many black people may have needed to get tested and were denied, or if there have been disparities in care for severe cases. The fact that this data is being recorded means that, going forward, we can see how traditionally underserved communities were treated during a public health crisis and make changes for the future, if need be.
Overall, this is just really sad news. We’re still in the early stages of the pandemic, these numbers are sadly going to continue going up.