As the coronavirus pandemic ravages African American communities across the U.S., Councilwoman Carmalitha Gumbs is convening a town hall to address the alarming trend. The virtual event, titled Combating COVID-19 in the Black Community, will be held on April 15 at noon.
The conversation will be led by Dr. Sulieman Wazeerud-Din, chief medical officer at WellStar Atlanta Medical Center South and Dr. Angela Marshall, chair of the board of directors for Black Women’s Health Imperative. Kiplyn Primus, host of WCLK’s “The Local Take” will moderate.
“It’s important to combat the spread of COVID-19 using all of the tools and resources that are available to us,” said Councilwoman Gumbs. “As a city, we’ve taken extensive measures to keep residents and employees safe. As part of that effort, it’s important that we partner with experts to dispel myths, share accurate and current information and make sure residents have access to physicians who can answer their questions.”
News reports have raised alarms about the disproportionate COVID-19 death rate among African Americans in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans. A recent Washington Post survey revealed that counties that are primarily African American have three times the rate of infections and almost six times the rate of deaths as counties where white residents are in the majority.
These trends are raising red flags for South Fulton’s predominately African American residents and leaders. The city’s first case of COVID-19 was announced on March 9. Since then, a memory care facility located in the city has announced that nearly 80 percent of its residents have the virus and several have already died.
Multiple factors are being considered as to why COVID-19 has taken such a devastating toll on African Americans. National Nurses United cites higher levels of lack of insurance, fewer healthcare services and higher levels of preexisting conditions. Discriminatory economic factors also play a role as African Americans are disproportionately concentrated among people who are still working in essential services and are less likely to have had access to the limited supply of testing.
Councilwoman Gumbs’ town hall will be held on Zoom. Participants can join online or join by calling (646) 558-8656. The meeting ID is 970-640-3326 and the password is 298371.