With the revelation on March 17th that famous actor Eldris Elba tested positive for the Coronavirus or COVID-19, the circulating rumors that Black people cannot contract this alarming disease has hopefully been put to rest. There have also been (at the time of this article) a couple of deaths of African Americans who tested positive as well.
So looking forward we wanted to see if African Americans are actually at higher risk for Coronavirus. According to the CDC the at-risk groups are Older Adults and people who have serious chronic illness like heart Disease, Diabetes and Lung Disease. As one can imagine African Americans are at higher risk and have higher prevalence of many of the health conditions that exist within these categories especially older African Americans.
Overall a larger percentage of African American adults rate their health status as fair or poor (22%) compared to White Americans (16%). For Black seniors over 64 years old 36% rate their health status fair or poor compared to 24% of White seniors. Also according to the same report African Americans have a higher prevalence of Asthma, Diabetes, Stroke, and High Blood Pressure. This is true for Black adults and Black seniors alike.
Other indicators like COPD, cancer, and coronary heart disease have a slightly higher prevalence among Whites than Blacks. Although there is still much more to learn about this particular virus African Americans, especially seniors should take the recommended precautions.