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Data shows African Americans make up most of Houston’s coronavirus deaths

A healthcare worker silhouetted against the window, during a shift at an intensive care unit (ICU) at the General University Hospital where patients infected with the COVID-19 are treated in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
A healthcare worker silhouetted against the window, during a shift at an intensive care unit (ICU) at the General University Hospital where patients infected with the COVID-19 are treated in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – Data reported Thursday by the Texas Medical Center showed that African Americans make up a majority of the coronavirus deaths being reported in Houston.

According to TMC officials, Wednesday marked the first day that race and ethnicity were included in the demographics being reported for fatal cases of COVID-19 by the Houston Health Department.

On Wednesday, the city had reported 12 deaths because of the virus. According to TMC officials, eight were black, two were Hispanic and two were Anglo.

All 12 people suffered from underlying health issues such as diabetes and hypertension, TMC officials reported, citing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

According to TMC officials, African Americans make up about 23% of Houston’s population but comprise about 66% of the city’s coronavirus deaths, so far.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said Friday that people of color are not biologically or genetically predisposed to getting the virus.

“But they are socially predisposed to coronavirus exposure, and to have a higher incidence of the very diseases that put you at risk for severe complications of coronavirus,” Adams said.

Adams said the federal government is working to develop programs that allow everyone to have an equal chance to be healthy.

Similar data is expected from Harris County soon, TMC officials said.

Officials said a heat map of neighborhoods affected by the virus is also forthcoming.


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