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COVID-19 spread hits black Mecklenburg disproportionately
African Americans an outsize percentage of positives
 
Published Wednesday, April 1, 2020 10:06 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | TROY HULL
Charlotte’s Center City was all but deserted at 5 p.m. Monday, the first day of Gov. Roy Cooper’s declaration of a statewide stay at home order.

African Americans account for a disproportionate percentage of COVID-19 infected in Mecklenburg County.


As of March 28, 44% of the county’s 303 reported confirmed novel coronavirus cases were African Americans, outpacing their percentage of the overall population, 33%. Among blacks, 41% of positives were among people 60 years of age and older compared to 20%  in the youngest group of 20-39.

Although there’s misinformation on social media and urban legends that black people can’t contract the virus, data – and a plurality of local cases – suggest a different reality.
County officials said individuals who could be infected by the virus haven’t been tested because they don’t have symptoms or don’t meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for exams.

While Mecklenburg Health Director Gibbie Harris hasn’t a hypothesis on the inordinate percentage of positives among black residents, county commissioners chair George Dunlap cautioned the data requires context.

“There was no inaccuracy in the reporting, but the interpretation of the data,” he said. “So, anybody who does research understands in this case if you test more a bit of a particular subject then you're going to get more representation for that particular search. In this case, there were more tests done from African Americans. So the results of the positive tests show that African Americans were more positive than other groups, but that doesn't necessarily say that more African Americans have the virus, because the data only shows the results of those people whose tests come back positive.”

Other demographic findings in Mecklenburg’s coronavirus cases include:

• Whites make up 42% of the cohort, followed by 7% Hispanics and 3% Asian Americans. Four percent didn’t report a racial or ethnic group.

• Females make up 51% of cases compared to 49 % males.

• People between the ages of 20-39 make up 41% of the cases, contradicting the previous narrative that older people are more likely to contract the disease. Thirty-four percent of the cases are among people 40-59 and 24% are 60 and older. Among the 60-and-older group, 53% of them were hospitalized, compared to 17% of 40-59 and 6% of the cases age 20-36.

• Three in four reported cases were adults age 20-59, with a couple of infections among people under 20.

• Rates of infection are distributed across the county, with 13 ZIP Codes accounting for 10 or more cases. Six are north and west of Charlotte’s urban core;  three are to the east and four are to the south.

The African American community can't take that lightly,” Dunlap said. “More importantly, the message needs to get to our community is that we need to practice all those safety measures that have been suggested. Social distancing is important. Washing your hands is important, and in fact the latest research suggests people should be wearing masks.”

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Comments

Black people need to social distance and start taking this serious. I see very few blacks wearing facial masks. I don't feel sorry for them. If white people were dying as much would we be talked about? I am concerned about the elderly in Nursing homes. Not the ignorant people. I am disabled .64 years old have halth problems but Also I take this serious
Educate the blacks please. They are the ones spreading it all over Mecklenburg County. It is common sense and I am tired of hearing about the blacks agai and again
Posted on April 24, 2020
 

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