Most of the city’s deaths are hyper-concentrated in majority-Black neighborhoods.
Gloria Oladipo reports:
Phillip Thomas, a Black, 48-year-old Chicagoan, was a “great guy” according to his sister Angela McMiller. He was loved by his family and well-liked by his co-workers at Walmart, where he had worked for nine years.
“I didn’t know about how many friends he had until he passed away,” said Angela. Thomas, who was diabetic, died from Covid-19 this past March.
After being sick for two weeks and self-quarantining at the recommendation of his doctor, instead of being given an examination, Phillip was then rushed to the hospital, where he died the next day.
Naba’a Muhammad, 59, a writer and Chicago South Shore neighborhood resident, with a lung disease, also contracted coronavirus and was hospitalized.
But while he was fortunate to access the necessary care, he immediately noted health disparities facing other Black Chicagoans in his community.
“Here you have [Donald Trump] who’s got a helicopter flying him to a special wing of a hospital for help when Black people can’t even get an Uber to the emergency room or a Covid test,” he said, referring to the president’s world-class care at the Walter Reed national military medical center on the outskirts of Washington DC, after being diagnosed with coronavirus in early October.
In Chicago, Covid-19 is battering Black communities. Despite only accounting for 30% of the city’s population, Black people make up 60% of Covid cases there and have the highest mortality rate out of any racial or ethnic group.
Most Chicago Covid-19 deaths are hyper-concentrated in majority-Black neighborhoods such as Austin on the West Side and Englewood and Auburn Gresham on the South Side.
“The racial and ethnic gaps we’re seeing of who gets the virus and who dies from it are not a surprise,” said Linda Rae Murray, a Chicago doctor, academic, social justice advocate and former president of the American Public Health Association as well as the former chief medical officer of the Cook county department of public health.
“They are a reflection of structural racism that exists in our society and inequities that are baked into our country.”