Black DC Residents Make Up Most Coronavirus Deaths Thus Far

"We know that across the country African Americans disproportionately suffer from some of the underlying conditions that make COVID-19 so dangerous"

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African Americans infected with coronavirus are disproportionately facing complications on a national level, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday evening. An analysis of cases in Washington, D.C., shows that most residents who have died of the virus thus far have been black or African American. 

Here’s what we know so far about the race and ethnicity of coronavirus patients in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. 

Fifteen D.C. residents categorized as black or African American by the mayor's office have died of the virus, making up 56% of total deaths in the District. White and Hispanic/Latino residents tied for the groups with the second-most deaths, at five people each and 19% of the total. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference Wednesday morning that city officials are tracking the data.

"While we have a lot of unknowns, we will continue to monitor this information carefully," she said. "We know that across the country African Americans disproportionately suffer from some of the underlying conditions that make COVID-19 so dangerous."

The race of most people who fell ill with the virus in D.C. but did not die was unknown. Black or African-American patients made up the next largest group, with 460 cases, making up about 32%. White patients came in third, with 218 cases and about 15%. 

An estimated 46% of D.C. residents are black or African American, and about 46% are white, according to census estimates. About 11% are Hispanic or Latino. 

In Virginia, the race of most patients is categorized as not having been reported, at about 54%. White patients made up the next highest group, at about 25%. Black or African-American patients made up about 14%. Data was not released on the race or ethnicity of patients who have died. 

An estimated 70% of Virginians are white, according to census estimates. About 20% are black or African American, and about 10% are Hispanic or Latino. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that the state would begin to release data on patients’ race and ethnicity. 

President Donald Trump acknowledged the national racial disparity at a White House briefing Tuesday. 

“It’s showing up very strongly on our data in the African-American community, and we’re doing everything in our power to address this challenge,” he said. 

Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said African Americans were more likely to face complications from the virus because of existing diseases including diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma. 

“Unfortunately, when you look at the predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with coronavirus, the things that get people into ICUs, that require intubation and often lead to death, they are just those very comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent in the African American population. So we’re very concerned about that,” he said. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID, spoke on Tuesday about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the African American community in the United States, stating the White House coronavirus task force is "very concerned" about the community due to long-documented preexisting conditions rooted in disproportionate health care.

Here’s where we are Wednesday in the fight against the virus in the D.C. area. 

As of Wednesday morning, 10,614 cases of coronavirus had been diagnosed. D.C. had reported 1,440 cases, Maryland had 5,529 and Virginia had 3,645. At least 226 people in the region had died of the virus. Go here for details.

A 27-year-old woman who worked at a Giant grocery store in Largo, Maryland, died of the virus earlier this month. Leilani Jordan greeted customers and helped senior citizens shop. 

"She collapsed in the parking lot because the virus began to take a toll on her respiratory system,” her brother, William Jordan, said. 

A 27-year-old greeter at a Giant grocery in Largo, Maryland, passed away from coronavirus, and other grocery workers are urging more protection for workers on the frontlines. News4's Tracee Wilkins reports.

In Northern Virginia, a family with a 65-year-old loved one hospitalized with coronavirus says a rehab center waited too long to get her to a hospital when her symptoms got worse. Joanne Blue was recovering from a stroke when her daughter checked on her through a window and saw that she looked “horrible.” 

A Northern Virginia family believes a rehab center waited too long to get a 65-year-old woman to a hospital when her symptoms got worse. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports.

In D.C., attempts to slow the spread of the virus have been complicated by noncompliant residents and visitors, the Associated Press reported

And something positive: The air in the D.C. area is cleaner because fewer people are driving. News4 reported on how we can keep up the good work. 

Cleaner air: It’s one of the unintended benefits as so many people have stopped driving and flying during the coronavirus pandemic. News4's Adam Tuss reports there is even more we can be doing to cut down on pollution.
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