The tongue-in-cheek assertion that “black folks can’t get the coronavirus” hasn’t aged well.

New data show that black people are disproportionately contracting and dying from the coronavirus. Experts suggest this is due to current health disparities already faced by black Americans in this country, such as underlying medical conditions and limited access to medical care. Other very real determinants brought on by white supremacy also impact how black communities deal with illnesses, such as neighborhood density or things like being able to even afford a doctor’s visit or receiving adequate care from racially biased doctors.


And the numbers don’t lie: In states like Illinois and Louisiana, black people account for a massive proportion of deaths from the coronavirus, especially in relation to their overall population sizes.


New York is currently the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreaks in the United States. In New York City, preliminary reporting by race and ethnicity shows that black and Latino folks have the highest death rates from the coronavirus.

Three black New Yorkers describe their experiences of contracting the virus in the video above and share their thoughts on the ease with which celebrities have access to testing, what they want those in power to know, and more.

Jessica Moulite is an award-winning Video Producer at The Root passionate about dismantling unjust societal power structures and all things Black culture. She's also probably watching “Living Single.”

Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Black and brown people really thought the virus only hit white folks and I’m sure that’s played a big role in why so many are now infected. It wasn’t taken seriously early enough in the communities and white folks were clowned for it. It’s all been pretty disappointing but somehow not surprising?

Latest on The Root