Posted on April 28, 2020

Tips to Be Fit: Blacks Are Dying, but Not Because They Are Black

Vince Faust, Philadelphia Tribune, April 28, 2020

{snip} The CDC found that 33% of people who’ve been hospitalized with COVID-19 are African American, yet only 13% of the U.S. population is African American. {snip} Among the many (26) states reporting racial data on COVID-19, Blacks account for 34% of COVID deaths.


In Chicago, a recent report found that 70 percent of people who died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are Black even though the city’s population is just 30 percent Black.

In Louisiana, Blacks represent about one-third of the state population but 70% of COVID-19 deaths.

Blacks in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin represent roughly 45% of diagnoses and over 70% of deaths.

In Michigan, Blacks are also over-represented for deaths related to COVID-19 accounting for 40% of all deaths statewide.

In Chicago, Blacks represent 70% of people who have died from coronavirus.

In New York, African Americans comprise 9 percent of the state population and 17 percent of the deaths.

Most public health officials tracking the coronavirus have seen similar disproportionate impacts on African Americans in Philadelphia, Detroit and other cities.

Data shows that the death rate for African Americans has declined about 25% over 17 years, mostly for those aged 65 years and older. Even with these improvements, new data shows that younger African Americans are living with or dying of many conditions typically found in white Americans at older ages. The difference shows up in African Americans in their 20s, 30s and 40s for diseases and causes of death. When diseases start early, they can lead to death earlier. Chronic diseases and some of their risk factors may be silent or not diagnosed during these early years. Health differences are often due to economic and social conditions that are more common among African Americans than whites. At ages 35 to 49 years, Blacks had higher death rates than whites for heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, homicide, nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and septicemia and HIV disease. At ages 50 to 64 years, Blacks had higher death rates than whites for leading chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, unintentional injury, septicemia and HIV disease. Death rates from heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes and homicide began increasing at earlier ages among Blacks than among whites.


Blacks need to reduce their risk factors for all chronic illness before the next health big health issue arrives. I have sarcoidosis. There is no cure. I have to keep my risk low for all diseases. I’m Black and not rich but I have managed to not develop diabetes, heart disease, not had a stroke and have not gained a lot of body fat in my 70 years of life. I’m not special. I’m just Black. I don’t blame the medical society for my condition. I know I have to take charge of my health.

Lifestyle changes that include a modified diet, weight control, exercise, smoking cessation, sleep hygiene and stress management go a long way in reducing your risk of chronic illness.


I was in North Philadelphia two weeks ago to get one of my favorite Black newspapers, The Philadelphia Tribune. I found that most Blacks in the area were not wearing mask, were not practicing social distancing, smoking cigarettes and acting like it was a normal day. We need to understand the true nature of the dangers we are facing.