The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the Black community. Data shows nearly one-third of individuals who have died as a result of coronavirus complications in the U.S. were African American. A group of Philadelphia-based doctors is on a mission to ensure that communities of color in the city have access to adequate testing for the novel virus, the Philadelphia Tribune reported.
The collective of medical professionals—dubbed the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium—were aware of the socio-economic disparities surrounding the accessibility to testing, specifically in Philadelphia. A study revealed that residents who had higher incomes were on average tested six times more often than the city’s low-income population. The inequities connected to COVID-19 testing and care factored into rising death rates among Philadelphia’s Black community which sparked the group of doctors to take action and address the issue head-on.
The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium packed a van with supplies and traveled to some of Philly’s hardest hit African American neighborhoods to provide coronavirus testing. The testing is open to individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 or believe they have been exposed to someone who was infected with the virus. Those who are tested receive their results within three to five days. The consortium—which includes 30 doctors and other medical professionals—has joined forces with several places of worship so they could conduct testing in church parking lots. They are teaming up with researchers to collect epidemiologic data that shows the communities impacted most by COVID-19 to inform where they should provide resources.
“There are too many of us dying and too many of us with the disease,” Dr. Ala Stanford, one of the doctors who organized the initiative, told the news outlet. “Some of the measures that can decrease transmission we can’t do because the tests are not equally accessible to everyone.” The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium hopes to test at least 1,000 individuals each week.
Philadelphia has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the city, there have been over 12,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.