Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Blacks hit hardest by Coronavirus
By Stanley O. Williford
Director of Publications

According to some of the more recent data from the California Department of Public Health, African Americans, who make up only six percent of the state’s population, account for 11 percent of the deaths caused by the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

A recent article in The Mercury News reported that African American deaths are disproportionately higher in the state when compared to their representation in the California population.

Other sectors were also hit hard, said the article.  “The Latinx/Hispanic community, which represents 39 percent of the state’s population, has accounted for 38 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases . . ., and 31 percent of the COVID-19 deaths. Meanwhile, whites – who make 37 percent of the population – represent 31 percent of confirmed cases and 38 percent of deaths,” the paper reported.

The Mercury News report agrees substantially with an article in the April 8 issue of the Los Angeles Times, when the early figures were first released. That was the first time that California officials had provided a breakdown, which was partial at that time, “of the coronavirus infections and deaths by race . . . .”  At the time of that report, the data was based on just 57 percent of the reported deaths.

It seems that most states, as well as the federal government, were late in breaking down the statistics by race as the high toll of African American deaths climbed.  

The report also said that Asians accounted for “13 percent of the confirmed case and 16 percent of the deaths.”

An article in the online version of U.S. News & World Report released about twelve days earlier than The Mercury News article contained this headline: Black People Are Disproportionately Getting and Dying from COVID-19. Further, the subhead of that story noted that Early Data Indicates African Americans Are Bearing the Brunt of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the U.S.

The organization cited other areas of the nation where African American deaths from the virus seemed to soar higher than other parts of the nation. It said:

“In both Louisiana and Chicago, for example, recent statistics showed that roughly 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths occurred among blacks, even though they are a minority in both areas.

“In North Carolina's Mecklenburg County – home of Charlotte, the state's largest city – black people make up 32.9 percent of residents, but accounted for 43.7 percent of reported coronavirus cases as of April 4. In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, blacks make up about 27 percent of the population but comprised almost half of all COVID-19 infections – and, as of data early Tuesday afternoon, 71 percent of all fatalities.

“Next door in Michigan, state health officials report that 33 percent of COVID-19 cases have occurred among blacks or African Americans – 10 percentage points higher than whites, and more than twice the state's percentage of black residents. Blacks or African Americans also accounted for 41 percent of deaths, compared with 28 percent among whites and 26 percent of cases for which race wasn't known,” the U.S. News & World Report article said.

It took a while for the federal and state governments to become aware of the high death toll among African Americans because each governmental sector was late in tracking the toll by race.

Also of note during that period when 87 percent of California deaths were tracked . . . , “1 percent were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander,” reported The Mercury News. “That group accounts for just 0.3 percent of the state’s [California] population.”
Origin of coronavirus, COVID-19
By Stanley O. Williford
Director of Publications

There has been much speculation as to the origin of Novel 2019 coronavirus, which is also referred to as  COVID-19. According to most respected scientific sources, the respiratory infection is “believed to have originated in a seafood wholesale market in the city of Wuhan, China.”

In spite of the charges by some non-scientific organizations that it is a manmade virus, these online  authoritative sources disagree, saying that the disease very likely was transmitted to human from some type of animal.

What are coronaviruses? explains:

“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can infect your nose, sinuses and upper throat. They’re classified as zoonotic, which means they are transmitted between animals and people. While most coronavirus strains only cause mild flu-like symptoms during infection – the common cold, for example – others such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) can morph into a pandemic.”

The netdoctor.comarticle also concluded that the coronavirus disease named COVID-19 “is approximately 96 percent identical to a bat virus discovered in southern China, according to the latest research from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It’s also related to SARS, sharing 80 percent of its genetic sequence.”

A January article on the virus by Dave Butler in TheStreet called the Wuhan version of the virus “one of the nastier ones.”

 “This is not an unprecedented event. Even in the last decade, we’ve seen a few events similar in nature to the current outbreak. The Middle East respiratory syndrome, also known as MERS, is a type of the virus that began in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

“Severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, was another coronavirus outbreak that came from China. It was believed that the SARS strain came from bats before spreading to other wild animals that were consumed by humans.

“By comparison, these viruses haven’t been nearly as damaging to humanity as major outbreaks of the past. The pandemic of 1918, known as the Spanish Flu, infected around 500 million people across the globe. At least 50 million are estimated to have died worldwide.”

An article in naturemedicine online magazine reports that SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect humans, and the magazine agrees with other scientific publications that the virus is not manmade:

“Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,” the magazine reports.

In fact, it’s difficult to find any major scientific or medical organization that claims that the disease is manmade.

Scripps Research said this in its March issue: “The analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered.

“By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” said Kristian Andersen, PhD, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author on the paper. ”

SARS-CoV-2 is another name categorization for the virus.  It is the name used by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

ICTV announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the new virus on February 11, 2020.  This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003.  While related, the two viruses are different.   

WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of this new disease on February 11, 2020, following guidelines previously developed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
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