Health disparities and COVID-19: Q&A with Dr. Andrea Willis

Black Local and National News

by Staff 63 Views

Dr. Andrea Willis COVID-19 has left no community untouched. Infecting more than 1 million Americans and resulting in the deaths of more than 75,000 people as of May 8, the coronavirus has taken an especially dramatic toll on African Americans and other communities of color. While the nation still lacks complete racial data on COVID-19 patients, according to the latest data where race was provided, African Americans accounted for more than one-third (33%) of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., yet make up only around 13 percent of the population. This disproportionate impact is seen here in Tennessee, too. Despite comprising only 17 percent of the population, African Americans represent 21 percent of COVID-19 cases and roughly 31 percent of deaths across the state, according to the latest data available. These startling numbers highlight the troublesome nature of health disparities in our country. Simply put, when compared to white Americans, racial and ethnic minorities often face higher rates of illness and worse health outcomes whether from more common ailments such as diabetes or the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As part of her ongoing educational series on the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Andrea Willis, senior vice president and chief medical officer at BlueCross, explains...