Black man in COVID mask

As of Friday, April 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released numbers that show 30% of known black patients tested positive for COVID-19. Conveniently or not, the report didn’t have any other racial information for 75% of all cases totaled. It also didn’t include any demographic breakdown of deaths. Yet this was a released federal report of case data by race. I’m confused and concerned as to why they released the numbers for the black race only.   

Lets back up a little. On Monday, April 20, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine informed the public that he had formed a Minority Health Strike Force to study the problem in Ohio that the disease has “disproportionally” impacted blacks. This strike force is also supposed to study the implications on a national level. Some would say that they should just be focusing on Ohio at this time and after this pandemic is contained to then pool the information from the nation totals together to “study” the impact on blacks and all races of people. 

The members of the strike force is made up of current and past state and local officials, minority advocates, health experts, pastors and others. I found this information on the web site. It says that the strike force is “Protecting Against COVID-19” and that the members are “charged with assisting those who may be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. So, are they to study the implications and impact on minorities or are they to assist minorities if they are disproportionally impacted in some way? 

To study something means the devotion of time and attention to acquiring knowledge on an academic subject, especially by means of books.

To assist something means help, typically by doing a share of the work, to provide money or information, to be present as a helper or spectator. There is a distinct difference in the words “study” vs “assist” and as usual the public is confused as to what the government is actually going to do in regard to giving us the correct data information regarding any situation regarding COVID-19. Who is actually getting and dying from the disease?   

The members hold some government position in the Ohio state offices. Organizations such as the Office of Ohio, Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction, PrimaryOne Health, Congressional Districts, Ohio Dept of Aging, Ohio State Medical, City of Cincinnati, City of Columbus, Columbus NAACP are just a few of the organizations represented by 43 members. These members also happen to hold positions of Director, President, CEO, Mayor, Ex-Mayor, Executive Director, etc. People who are definitely not out in the communities, talking directly to the people, seeing firsthand how they are living and being treated in the hospitals and clinics.  

I spoke with a Franklin County COTA female African American bus driver about the situation on the buses.  She said “It’s terrible, people get on the bus without masks, they cough all over the place and don’t cover up.  Most of them are homeless and just wander from one place to another on the bus.  There is no place else for them to go with everything being closed up.” I asked her if she felt safe doing her job. “No, I don’t! There are a lot of us that are sick but they not reporting that are they, they just keep us driving these buses.” She doesn’t want me to use her name because “I need my job.” She also wasn’t wearing a mask.

Delayne Whiteside, an African American male who is the Chairman & CEO at Uptown Weekly and lives in Franklin County, posted on Facebook that he went to the ER with complaints of symptoms of COVID-19. They didn’t test him. Sent him home with instructions to quarantine self for 14 days and take cold medicine. He got sicker, went back and they gave him two inhalers, instructions to stay quarantined and still no test. Went to primary care doctor after the quarantined days were over and all is well and still no test for the virus.  

As of April 25, the Ohio Department of Health reported 14,983 confirmed cases, 674 deaths and 3,105 hospitalizations.  If you add the reported “probable cases” of 604 confirmed and 40 additional deaths it would make the real total 15,587 confirmed and 711 deaths as of April 25. How do they account for the possible positive results of the minorities that come to the hospital or doctor’s office with symptoms and are not tested?  What about those cases? Who makes the decisions to test if not the doctors?   

Minorities are the most socially vulnerable in America due to poverty, lack of access to transportation, and crowded housing which weakens their ability to prevent human suffering and financial loss in a disaster. We need assistance now, not a study.