CHICAGO - Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday that another 74 people have died from the coronavirus, bringing the statewide death toll to 868. An estimated 64-percent of these victims are African American.
So what can be done to continue to flatten the curve? The simple answers are following social distancing and stay-at-home orders when possible, acknowledging that African Americans are working a lot of the service-oriented jobs that are still open, and of course, testing for the virus as much as possible.
The governor has already announced the state is performing 400 coronavirus tests a day at four clinics on the South and West sides of Chicago.
“I will get short of breathe and it attacks your respiratory system and it hits it hard. I woke up and couldn’t breathe,” said recovering COVID-19 patient Tia Davis.
“It attacked my diabetes and asthma, and my lungs and my heart,” said COVID-19 patient and comedian “Baldhead” Phillips.
Some COVID-19 patients, however, haven’t been as lucky as Davis and Phillips, such as CPD Sargent Clifford Martin. He was diagnosed with coronavirus last month and then hospitalized for two weeks before passing away last week.
African Americans make up 64-percent of the mortality rate, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. But why? A lot of it has to do with inequalities in employment, and in turn, impacting healthcare access.
Some of it has to do with pre-existing conditions because of choices made. Other issues exist because of reasons still unknown, like why so many African Americans die from asthma.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker have rolled out plans to combat the issues starting with more testing sites around the state.
“I am so glad to hear them opening on the South and West Side where people are hit the hardest,” said Dr. Horace Smith of Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Those test sites on the West Side are located at: Lawndale Christian Health Center and PCC Community Wellness Center.
The test sites on the South Side are located at: Chicago Family Health Center and Friend Family Health Center.