Health Dept. confirms all 12 COVID-19 deaths in St. Louis were Black

The city's fatality rate has been exclusive to the Black community thus far

Data from across the nation has confirmed our worst fears that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the African-American community, but no place underscores that sobering reality more than St. Louis, Mo.

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According to Newsweek, this week, Dr. Fredrick Echols, the director of the City of St. Louis Department of Health, confirmed that literally every single death associated with the virus so far has been a Black person.

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In an article published Wednesday by The St. Louis American, Echols shared the sobering news as a response to persistent rumors that African-Americans were somehow more resistant to the virus.

“In fact,” Echols noted in the piece “as of April 8, all 12 COVID-19 deaths in the City of St. Louis were African Americans.”

“We are learning more about the coronavirus every day, but let me tell you this in no uncertain terms: It doesn’t care if you are Black, brown, white, red, yellow or some other shade,” he continued. “The idea that African-Americans are somehow resistant to it is both untrue and dangerous to the health of our community.”

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To his point, the most recent data shows that there have already been 514 positive cases of coronavirus in the city of St. Louis while St. Louis County reported 1,337 positive cases, making this the highest number of coronavirus cases in the entire state of Missouri.

Like many other medical professionals (and us here at theGrio) have pointed out previously, Echols noted that pre-existing conditions like diabetes and heart conditions “disproportionately affect the Black community,” which makes it almost inevitable that African-Americans would be at greater risk for contracting the virus.

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Thursday, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Communications Director Lisa Cox issued a statement acknowledging, “We are very sensitive to this situation.”

“This week, we have begun reporting out race-related case and death information, and we have reinforced the fact that reporting race to us is mandated by law,” the statement continued.

“We need this information because it is vital as we develop strategies to provide assistance to where it is most needed by increasing testing accessibility to identify cases and predict areas where we need to ramp up social distancing messaging.”

(Photo: St. Louis Health Dept.)