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: 314710

Reported Deaths: 7254
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21646260
Hinds20369416
Harrison17949309
Rankin13643278
Jackson13450246
Madison10113217
Lee9986174
Jones8384163
Forrest7689152
Lauderdale7198240
Lowndes6403148
Lamar623686
Lafayette6203119
Washington5341134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462998
Panola4596107
Pearl River4519146
Marshall4450103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420872
Monroe4115133
Union411176
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3969110
Hancock379586
Leflore3498125
Sunflower336290
Tate334784
Pike3327105
Scott316274
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311770
Itawamba300577
Copiah297465
Coahoma295579
Simpson295388
Tippah288768
Adams286982
Prentiss280060
Marion269380
Leake268473
Wayne262841
Grenada261587
Covington259881
George248148
Newton246862
Winston227581
Tishomingo227067
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw208057
Holmes189174
Clay185554
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178941
Clarke178080
Calhoun170932
Yalobusha164638
Smith162534
Walthall134245
Greene130633
Lawrence128724
Montgomery127142
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton100025
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83923
Quitman81116
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67531
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 537813

Reported Deaths: 11024
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson791691529
Mobile41177808
Madison35002507
Tuscaloosa25871454
Shelby25076249
Montgomery24549591
Baldwin21290309
Lee15946171
Calhoun14556319
Morgan14364280
Etowah13890353
Marshall12262223
Houston10602282
Elmore10115206
Limestone10031151
St. Clair9890245
Cullman9730194
Lauderdale9449243
DeKalb8853188
Talladega8325176
Walker7259277
Autauga6971108
Jackson6830112
Blount6750139
Colbert6317134
Coffee5546119
Dale4869113
Russell444338
Chilton4343113
Franklin426282
Covington4138118
Tallapoosa4040152
Escambia394577
Chambers3581123
Dallas3564153
Clarke351361
Marion3137101
Pike311977
Lawrence302298
Winston275673
Bibb263064
Geneva252577
Marengo249664
Pickens234862
Barbour231956
Hale223677
Butler217869
Fayette212462
Henry189644
Cherokee184345
Randolph182042
Monroe178140
Washington167639
Macon160750
Clay156957
Crenshaw153357
Cleburne149241
Lamar143035
Lowndes139653
Wilcox127430
Bullock123041
Conecuh110629
Coosa108928
Perry107826
Sumter104932
Greene92634
Choctaw61024
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for this weekend. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. However, there will be some changes next week in our weahter forecast as low pressure brings back some chances for showers and thunderstorms.
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