UCF's black community responds to research that indicates blacks are disproportionately affected by COVID-19

Black UCF students and their classmates participate in a Black History Month event on campus.

Researchers have paid close attention to how COVID-19 is affecting black Americans, and numbers show they are disproportionately affected, according to the CDC.

Significant numbers indicate that blacks are being disproportionately affected in cities such as LouisianaChicago and Milwaukee.

According to Florida Department of Health, Orange County has 1,038 COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday evening. The FDH did not provide how many of those cases were black citizens, but Florida's Disaster Report from Tuesday shows that black Floridians affected by the virus increased 2% in one week.

Beverlye Colson Neal, president of the Orange County NAACP, said that she's not surprised that the numbers are so high for black Americans affected by the virus.

"It's because of the lack of self-insured services in the community," Neal said. "African-Americans have always been disproportionately affected, and until these things are addressed and there's a resolution you are going to see these high, disproportionate numbers for African Americans when pandemics and outbreaks occur."

Uninsured blacks and other people of color are more likely to live in states that did not expand Medicaid, such as Florida, according to Kaiser Family Foundation's website. 

Medicare expansion provides more low-income adults with access to affordable health care, resulting in improved health outcome, according to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Chad Cowan, senior digital media and computer science major said that not having good insurance or no insurance at all can bring up fear within the black community.

"Fear of even getting a checkup because of the fear of a hospital bill," Cowan said. "I believe this will unfortunately lead to more cases of the coronavirus spreading among families in the black community without them even knowing."

Freshman business economics major Chanelle Henry said that the research proves that the U.S government has patterns of systematically failing black people.

"We also see patterns like this in our justice system, our education system, and even with public housing. The fact that we are African-American should not make us more subject to this issue than any person of any other race," Henry said. 

The Orange County NAACP is working with congressional leadership and other organizations to help "bridge the gap for African American disparities," Neal said.

During a White House press briefing on Friday, U.S Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams discussed the impacts of the virus in communities of color and why they are more subject to the virus. Adams encouraged communities of color to avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol. 

"We need you to understand, especially in communities of color, we need you to step up and help stop the spread so that we can protect those that are most vulnerable," Adams said.

Sophomore health service administration major Delicia Powell said Dr. Adams' comments made it seem like people of color are the problem. 

"It seems like he’s blaming people of color for the spread of COVID-19," Powell said.

As a black UCF student, Henry calls on the U.S government to work on its relationship with the black community.

"I believe it should be an eye opener for our government," Henry said. "They should see it as a cry for help, and an opportunity to strengthen our relationship."

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