A new Georgia study reaffirms what leaders have been calling out for weeks — Black people are suffering gravely from the coronavirus pandemic. With Governor Brian Kemp reopening multiple businesses this week in the state, people are calling him out even more for his disregard for Black life.
According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study released Wednesday, Black people make up a majority of the 297 coronavirus patients reported. Although Black people weren’t more likely than any other group to die from the disease or to require a ventilator, according to this study, 83.2 percent of the patients with coronavirus were Black.
“That is a very high rate of infections,” said Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, Howard University president and cancer surgeon, who was not involved in the CDC. report. He said the high percentage of Black people in the study most likely reflects the occupation of the patients.
“A lot of it may come from the fact that African-Americans are essential employees in our system,” he said. “Everything from bus drivers to health care workers and cleaning services, they are on the front line, and therefore are far more likely to be exposed.”
Nationally, statistics coincide with the Georgia study, showing Black people have been infected with the coronavirus, and are dying from it at disproportional rates in various places. According to New York Magazine, Georgia saw Black people making up 52 percent of the coronavirus-related deaths and they only make up 33 percent of the population.
Meanwhile Gov. Kemp has reopened businesses in Georgia with no mention of how he’s going to actively address the disproportionate affect COVID-19 is having on Black people. On Friday, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors, and nail salons were back running for in-person business. By Monday, restaurants were allowed to continue dine-in service. Georgia’s stay-at-home order is supposed to end on Thursday.
Meanwhile, various Black businesses in Georgia have banned together, saying they won’t open out of concern for the community they serve. Rapper Killer Mike, who owns a chain of barbershops in Georgia with his wife, Shay, told TMZ last week, “At this time as a business, we aren’t comfortable opening. So we’re going to wait a while before we reopen.” Mike went on to explain how the coronavirus has been disproportionately hitting the Black community and this is the group that his business caters to. “We don’t want our customers and our barbers in danger.”
The sample of patients in the CDC study were taken from eight hospitals in Georgia, including one in southern Georgia and seven in metropolitan Atlanta. About half of Atlanta residents are Black, according to the United States Census Bureau. “The proportion of hospitalized patients who were black was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions,” the report said.
According to The New York Times, although The Georgia Department of Public Health said the average number of newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been going down since April 10, The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted that deaths from the virus in Georgia won’t level off until early May. Considering the recent CDC study, this projection still doesn’t seem to be a bright light for Black people.
“Given the overrepresentation of black patients within this hospitalized cohort, it is important for public health officials to ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial/ethnic groups most affected by Covid-19,” the CDC report said.
In the meantime, social media had no problem slamming Gov. Kemp — who, as a reminder, stole the gubernatorial election away from Stacey Abrams via voter suppression and his position as secretary of state.
“Brian Kemp and the GOP are tryin to kill Georgia’s Black, brown, POC and low income populations. This is genocide,” one Twitter user wrote. “Time for more of us to say it out loud.”