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On June 24th, as Texas was beginning to reckon with its dramatic spike in coronavirus cases, I received a phone call from an alarmed friend. He’d heard a rumor about Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital, where I work as an internist: apparently, it was so full of patients that some seeking treatment for COVID-19 were lining […]READ MORE
TAMPA — Residents “have to continue what we’re doing” to stem the spread of coronavirus, said the top state health official for Hillsborough County. Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the state Health Department for Hillsborough County, on Thursday thanked the public for wearing masks, and practicing social distancing and good hygiene habits. Despite continued public […]READ MORE
The coronavirus is still raging, particularly in states like Texas, Arizona and Florida. We already know what it takes to beat it. We just need to do it. As infection rates rapidly rise in many red states, Senate Republicans can and should legislate to protect their constituents and their country. It’s good politics to save […]READ MORE
When coronavirus cases started exploding on the East Coast in March, there were devastating failures by Democratic leaders. New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, not only forced nursing homes to take back residents who’d been hospitalized for the coronavirus, he barred them from testing the residents to see if they were still infected. As ProPublica reported, […]READ MORE
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The issue of liability protections has been a major sticking point in crafting another trillion-dollar-plus coronavirus relief bill aimed primarily at buoying devastated state and local budgets. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have called legal protections for employers “absolutely essential” to striking a deal, arguing that excessive lawsuits could […]READ MORE
The KN95 is a Chinese model similar to the N95, which is a crucial type of personal protective equipment used to defend nurses, doctors and other health workers in the fight against Covid-19. In general, Canada has authorized the KN95 for use as part of the Covid-19 response, but individual shipments are being inspected. China […]READ MORE
“It is so important to think globally and support the World Health Organization to curb the pandemic and prevent future outbreaks,” Lady Gaga, who helped curate the all-star lineup, said at a news conference on Monday. “We want to highlight the gravity of this historical, unprecedented and cultural movement.” The last two hours of the […]READ MORE
MOSCOW — In a remote alpine meadow in Kyrgyzstan a few years ago, a teenage boy killed and skinned a marmot. Five days later, his parents carried the sweating, delirious boy to a village hospital where he died of bubonic plague. Like a ghost from the medieval past, the plague still makes occasional, unwelcome appearances […]READ MORE
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Public health officials are expressing alarm after early data is showing that an overwhelming number of African American residents are among those dying of COVID-19.
Black residents accounted for 72% of deaths from complications of coronavirus disease in Chicago and 52% of positive tests for the coronavirus, despite blacks making up only 30% of the city’s population, according to the city’s public health agency.
Similar conditions mark other large cities with large black populations that are considered hot spots for the coronavirus, including New York, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans. Figures released Monday by Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services showed African Americans, who make up 14% of the state population, make up about 33% of cases statewide and 41% of deaths.
A new team of city and community representatives will focus on contacting residents who are older than 50 and those considered vulnerable to the virus because of other health conditions to share information about prevention and resources for those who do become ill.
A national civil rights group on Monday said that’s a problem across the country and demanded more transparency on race and ethnicity among the COVID-19 testing results, cases and patient outcomes reported by federal health authorities and state health agencies.
“Equal access to healthcare is a critical civil rights issue, and during this novel pandemic, the public deserves nothing less than full transparency from this administration and state public health officials,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement.
One of the nation’s top experts on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said coronavirus is “shining a bright light” on unacceptable health disparities for African-Americans.
There’s a push for data showing the race of COVID-19 patients in Florida and a state senator is pushing for more testing in black neighborhoods.
“I asked directly to the surgeon general, then we had a conference call with the surgeon general last week asking for that information,” Gibson said.
Data released by the Florida Department of Health over the weekend shows 21% of people hospitalized with the COVID-19 in Florida are black. According to 2018 U.S. Census figures, 16% of Florida residents are listed as black or African-American.
UF Health Jacksonville began an outreach Wednesday to people who live in a public housing project in Jacksonville’s Durkeeville neighborhood lined up to be tested for COVID-19. Free testing is available to people, especially those at least 65 years of age.
“I am not that familiar with the internet,” said 83-year-old resident Suzy Henry. “So I am grateful and happy they are here today making it convenient for people like me.”
African-American and Hispanic populations typically have are higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and high-cholesterol and income disparity can result in a lower level of preventative health care.
“We haven’t quite seen what we’ve seen in Chicago, Milwaukee, in terms of a racial perspective, but that’s why we are out here, So we can learn more and hopefully put in some interventions,” Dr. Leon Haley of UF Health.
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis also addressed the issue at a news briefing Wednesday.
“We’re now breaking out by race or ethnicity. (We) don’t have it for every patient, but the ones we do we’re putting it there,” DeSantis said. “We’re also with the University of Florida and Shands … a kind of an investigation into some of the public housing communities … where they maybe not getting what they need.”
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