Oprah warns black community that coronavirus is 'taking us out'
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Oprah WinfreyOprah Gail WinfreyOprah honors Breonna Taylor on cover of magazine 'Gone With the Wind' is gone with the protests — so what's next? Minnesota health officials say graduation ceremony exposed people to coronavirus MORE implored black Americans on Tuesday to take the coronavirus outbreak seriously, as reports indicate that African American and Latino communities are suffering disproportionately.

In an interview with NBC's "Today" show, Winfrey pointed to her own history with pneumonia as a reason why anyone with a preexisting condition should be especially worried about the spread of the disease.

"We need to understand for ourselves: This is so serious. It's taking us out," Winfrey said.


"It's not only ravaging our community, but people who have preexisting conditions, which I think people didn't hear that," she continued. "So if you are taking medication for your diabetes, if you're taking medication because of hypertension, if you need an asthma inhaler for asthma, if you have any kind of lung disorder."

"The moment I heard preexisting conditions, I'm like, 'Lock the door, nobody coming in here,''' Winfrey added.

Black Americans are being disproportionately harmed by the coronavirus, the Trump administration acknowledged last week as calls grew for state and national data broken down by race.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said a week ago that black Americans are more likely to have preexisting conditions and to lack access to health care, making them particularly vulnerable. 

“So I represent that legacy of growing up poor and black in America,” Adams said on "CBS This Morning." “And I and many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID, which is why we need everyone to do their part to slow the spread.” 

The coronavirus outbreak has infected nearly 2 million people around the world, and killed more than 23,000 in the U.S.