Over 70% of Chicago’s COVID-19 related deaths were African American, officials say

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Chicago is launching a health campaign focused on the city’s black and brown communities as data shows a disproportionate number of African American residents have died of COVID-19 complications.

“This is a call to action moment for all of us,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference Monday. “When we talk about equity and inclusion, they’re not just nice notions — they’re an imperative that we must embrace as a city”

Joining Lightfoot at her news conference, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady shared some staggering statistics.

African Americans, who make up 30% of Chicago’s population, make up 52% of COVID-19 cases citywide and 72% of deaths, Arwady said. For more Chicago COVID-19 statistics, go to chicago.gov/coronavirus.

Lightfoot noted that unequal access to health care in Chicago’s black and brown communities has persisted for decades. Some medical conditions including diabetes and heart disease also remain more prevalent among black adults in the U.S.

Lightfoot said Chicago can’t “erase decades of health disparities in a few days or a week.”

“But we have to impress upon people in these communities that there are things that they can do, there are tools at their disposal that they can do to help themselves,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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