According to data from the city, African-Americans compose 30 percent of the population, but make up 52 percent of the city’s COVID-19 cases. African-Americans also make up 72 percent of the city’s deaths from COVID-19.
“This is a call to action moment for all of us,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “When we talk about equity and inclusion, they are not just nice notions. They are an imperative that we must embrace as a city.”
Mayor Lightfoot revealed details for how the city plans to address the inequality and assist vulnerable populations. The city has issued an order demanding healthcare providers give the city demographics data on all coronavirus patients.
The mayor also announced the formation of a racial equality rapid response team of public health experts and community activists in partnership with West Side United. The team will be a hyperlocal effort to connect vulnerable people with services.
The Illinois Department of Public Health also released demographic information Sunday showing the impact on African-Americans.
“We know all too well that there are general disparities in health outcomes that play along these racial lines and the same may be true for this virus,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “We have worked to ensure that all of our communities can access healthcare they need as COVID-19 spreads.”
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Governor JB Pritzker said it represents a large problem.
“So, we already started out with an unequal system of health care for people,” Pritzker said. “And then it gets massively exacerbated when you bring on something like COVID-19, which clearly requires an enormous amount of health care provision. So I’m deeply concerned about this. I’ve seen these stats.”
The governor said he’s seen similar data in other states like Michigan and Louisiana.
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Source: ABC7 Chicago