African-American Communities Affected By COVID-19

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- Everyday doctors are learning more and more about COVID-19.

They are trying to piece together trends and places where they are seeing an increase of cases.

As Coronavirus totals increase daily, we are beginning to see a disparity in how African-American patients are suffering from the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in a press conference Tuesday, “It’s not that they’re getting infected, more often is that when they do get infected their underlying medical conditions, the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma. Those are the kind of things that wind them up in the ICU and ultimately give them a higher death rate.”

As of Thursday, 668 cases of the Coronavirus in Tennessee are attributed to African-Americans. That’s about 14 percent of the total number of cases.

That’s in line with state demographics where African Americans make up 16 to 17% of the population. But, the numbers skew wildly in other parts of the country.

Dr. Toombs-Withers is a Family medicine physician at the essence of health wellness clinic.

She says that lack of healthcare access may be one of the many problems.

Dr. Toombs-Withers says, “we see in persons of color tend to live in large family units. You don’t know if those people may be infected. And then having that lack of access to care, they’re not likely to get help, so they are more critically ill.”

Another underlying issue, lack of trust.

“Things that were done to people of color in history that has promoted this distrust so rightfully, people of color will have this distrust..”, says Dr. Shayla Toombs-Withers.

The Unity Group of Chattanooga have been advocates for the black community to do their part and stay apart.

Charlotte S. Williams says, “It is very imperative, and we got to get away from the notion or myth that uh, that we don’t catch the Coronavirus, we’ve got to get away from that because the numbers speak otherwise.”

This week is expected to be dire, when it comes to Coronavirus.

“I do feel that our community should be educated and know that this virus is real. It affects people of all ages, all races and all socioeconomic background and so you know it does effect everyone”, Dr. Toombs-Withers adds.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Health