Is COVID Becoming A Black and Brown Disease

Washington, D.C. (Tuesday, May 25, 2021) – African Americans in DC account for 45 percent of the overall population.  But when it comes to coronavirus infections, Black people in the District of Columbia make up more than 80 percent of the cases.

The reality of those statistics has one health official wondering if COVID-19 is becoming a disease that only impacts people of color.  “I am terrified that this thing could become a Black and Brown disease and that it will stay in our community for a long, long time,” said Dr. Reed Tuckson, co-founder of the Black Coalition Against COVID-19.  Tuckson made that comment Tuesday during a Zoom meeting with the Anacostia Coordinating Council.  A disproportionate number of infections and deaths in DC has been reported East of the Anacostia River in Wards 7 and 8.

While the number of COVID cases in DC has dropped steadily since January, Mayor Muriel Bowser says the percentage of people of color who are getting COVID has gone up.

Like many jurisdictions around the country, the District has been sounding the alarm trying to convince hesitant residents to get vaccinated.  But the number of vaccinations among African Americans and Hispanics remains woefully low.  The District estimates that less than 20% of Black residents are fully vaccinated.  “If we don’t get our vaccination rates up, we’re going to be in a tough situation,” added Tuckson.