An emerging trend: African Americans are dying at higher rates from coronavirus.
Edward Wallace, PhD, on faculty at the University of Cincinnati and a public health expert with a focus on community health, health disparities and health equity, provides comments on how COVID-19 is impacting African American communities.
“Statistics are showing that African Americans are disproportionately being affected by COVID-19. However, we must remember that African Americans are more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and other chronic disease that puts them at higher risk of suffering from the illness,” says Wallace, associate professor in UC’s Department of Africana Studies, undergraduate director for Africana Studies and director for the college’s Minority Health Certificate.
“When people work an hourly wage (i.e. food service) and are deemed to be working jobs that are essential to the public, they risk exposure to the coronavirus. We are seeing African Americans practice social distancing much later than whites, largely because they don’t have the luxury to stay at home and work.”
“This affects us all, either directly or indirectly. Eventually, COVID-19 will come to an end. However, health disparities will still remain when this pandemic is long gone.”
Wallace currently teaches a course called “Black Healthcare” where students learn why African American individuals tend to die sooner than any other racial or ethnic group. His most recent book project – Urban Health Disparities: The Wounds of Policies and Legal Doctrines – focuses on policies that harm people of color rather than help the most vulnerable.
Angela Koenig, Public Information Officer
University of Cincinnati