While out shopping for essential items yesterday (May 2), actress Debbi Morgan was compelled to go on social media and share her concern for how African-American communities are impacted by COVID-19. In a video she posted to Instagram, she tearfully described how hard blacks have been hit financially and health wise since the pandemic began.
“This is my first day [out] in about 12 days…,” she said. “I don’t know, for some reason I just feel overcome with such emotion. I just want all of us to get through this, to the other side, especially within our black communities. People are sick and dying, so many of us are dying. And we can’t put food on the table for our children. We can’t pay our rent, we can’t pay our mortgages.”
To those feeling defeated, she also offered words of encouragement to instill hope during such a devastating time.
“Our ancestors are strong people, and we got through slavery. We are still a strong people, we will get through this. But we gotta be smart and stay safe. Because we cannot and will not be broken.”
It has been shown that African-Americans have been disproportionately affected by the deadly virus and have not had access to testing sites in the same way that white, wealthier communities have. For example, in Chicago black people make up 29 percent of the population but account for 70 percent of coronavirus deaths in the city. In Louisiana, 33 percent of the population black but 70 percent of the deaths due to COVID-19 were black. Blacks constitute 14 percent of New Jersey’s population but 20 percent of those who died from COVID-19 are black.
One of the reasons why blacks have been dying at higher rates is because of underlying illnesses, according to experts. Sherita Golden, M.D., M.H.S., a specialist in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and chief diversity officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine, reported that black people have a “higher burden of chronic health conditions associated with a poor outcome from COVID-19, including diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.” Dr. Golden also pointed out that inconsistent access to health care, living in crowded homes, working in essential fields and stress puts people of color at a higher risk.
Watch Morgan’s video below.