By Consumers For Quality Care, on June 1, 2020
An article in the Washington Post tells the stories of two African American men in Washington D.C. who recently died from Coronavirus.
Men have been dying from COVID-19 at a rate double that of women, and this disparity is particularly prevalent among African American communities, who account for 60 percent of Coronavirus deaths despite comprising only 13 percent of the population.
In Washington D.C., the virus has hit communities of color hard.
In the District, the virus has been especially lethal to people of color. More than three-quarters of Washington’s 440 covid-19 victims have been black. It has robbed the community of pastors and professionals, fathers and mentors in a city where black men are already imperiled, dying 15 years earlier than white men on average.
One of the men profiled was George Valentine, who served as deputy legal counsel to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Loved ones of Valentine recalled his successful career and his personal generosity. During the early days of the C,,oronavirus outbreak, Valentine died in a hospital just two days after medics rushed into his home to take him away. He is survived by his 20-year-old son.
Another man, Kenneth Moore, was a counselor for guarded and delinquent children on behalf of the city. Moore became sick with a fever and shortness of breath, and called his doctor, who told him he might have pneumonia. A few days later, Moore was so short of breath he could not walk to his car. His fiancé called an ambulance. Two days later, Moore died in the hospital.
Many factors put black men at a particularly high risk for COVID-19 death. For example African Americans are disproportionately impacted by chronic health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, which are known risk factors for more sever illness and often result from racial inequities and barriers to care.
As Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, wrote in an op-ed, people’s community can have a profound effect on their overall health.
Health builds from where we live, learn, work and play – and only secondarily in the doctor’s office. Data conclusively show that early childhood education matters greatly, as does the nutritional value of the food we put in our bodies and our access to safe outdoor spaces.
Ibram Kendi, a history professor at D.C.’s American University, is also correcting the false premise that African Americans are to blame for their own deaths from the deadly virus.
Too many Americans, in denial about the existence of racism, Kendi said, “have been taught to believe that the group that is on the dying end of a racial disparity is to blame for their own deaths.”
“In fact, he said, “there is no evidence to support that black people make poorer health choices, when controlling for factors like class and availability of care, than any other racial group.”