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Mississippi shows wide racial gap in impact of coronavirus

The state Health Department said 72% of Mississippi residents who have died of COVID-19 were African American and 28% were white.

Posted: Apr 8, 2020 1:59 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Numbers released Wednesday show the stark disparity in how the new coronavirus is affecting black and white Mississippians.

The state Health Department said 72% of Mississippi residents who have died of COVID-19 were African American and 28% were white. The department said that was based on cases for which “full information” was available, as of Tuesday evening.

It also said that 56% of Mississippians diagnosed with the virus are African American, 37% are white and 7% are of another race.

Mississippi's population is nearly 3 million. About 38% of residents are black and 59% are white.

Wednesday was the first time the Health Department posted racial demographic information about the virus on its website. It had already been releasing information by age and sex.

The posting of detailed information came a day after the state epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers, said about 50% and “maybe a little bit more” of those testing positive for the virus and more than 50% of those dying from it in the state are black.

Byers called the disparity “troubling,” and he pointed out that people with health problems are more vulnerable to the virus.

Mississippi has high rates of heart disease, diabetes and asthma. The state also has a high poverty rate and a large percentage of uninsured residents who might be less likely to seek preventative medical care for chronic conditions.

Mississippi is among the 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage to the working poor. Expansion is an option under the health overhaul that then-President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010. Gov. Tate Reeves and other Republican leaders have said they don't want more people on a government program, and Reeves has recently said that the coronavirus pandemic has not changed his mind about Medicaid expansion.

The Health Department said Wednesday that Mississippi’s overall coronavirus caseload grew to at least 2,003 infections and 67 deaths as of Tuesday evening. That is an increase of 88 cases and eight deaths from the previous day. The outbreak has spread to at least 41 long-term care facilities.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

Reeves said Tuesday that he wants African American community leaders, including pastors and politicians, to talk to people about trying to protect themselves and seek medical help if they think they might have the virus, particularly if they have chronic medical conditions.

The state has had temporary mobile testing sites in several hard-hit communities, including the coastal city of Moss Point, where 71% of residents are black.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 789054

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1115991765
Mobile708511234
Madison49865633
Shelby36274315
Baldwin36242495
Tuscaloosa33931548
Montgomery33190678
Lee22680220
Calhoun21211410
Morgan19816335
Etowah19300462
Marshall17680274
Houston16823386
St. Clair15442305
Cullman14602258
Limestone14581188
Elmore14480264
Lauderdale13520281
Talladega12958236
DeKalb12199237
Walker10588330
Blount9720157
Autauga9667137
Jackson9385158
Coffee8882175
Dale8609173
Colbert8534184
Tallapoosa6673181
Escambia6591121
Covington6452167
Chilton6385144
Russell607255
Franklin5795101
Chambers5416134
Marion4800120
Dallas4705189
Clarke463279
Pike462397
Geneva4413117
Winston425895
Lawrence4117108
Bibb409381
Barbour347270
Marengo326285
Monroe320053
Butler318290
Randolph305956
Pickens305274
Henry301858
Hale292685
Cherokee289855
Fayette279673
Washington245448
Crenshaw238470
Cleburne235851
Clay228565
Macon220158
Lamar197743
Conecuh182046
Lowndes170758
Coosa170235
Wilcox159736
Bullock149243
Perry136537
Sumter124536
Greene121443
Choctaw73427
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Today, as we head out the door, temperatures will be in the low 60s. Going into the afternoon we will see temperatures hitting the mid-80s, definitely a warmer day than the previous few. Some passing clouds can be expected but no rain to start our work week.
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