President Trump on Tuesday acknowledged African Americans are disproportionately getting sick and dying of COVID-19, vowing to release data detailing the extent of the problem in the coming days.
“We’re doing everything in our power to address this challenge. It’s a tremendous challenge. It’s terrible,” he said during a White House briefing with reporters.
He said his administration would “provide support” to African Americans but didn’t offer further details.
Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said African Americans are also more likely to have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension obesity and asthma, increasing their risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.
“It’s very sad. It’s nothing we can do about it right now except to try and give them the best possible care to avoid those complications,” Fauci said.
The Trump administration and state health departments have been under pressure from advocates to release a racial breakdown of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Trump said his administration would release some “very, very nasty” numbers over the next few days.
Some states have released data, but it’s still largely unknown how widely COVID-19 has hit communities of color.
Data released by the Louisiana Department of Health this week showed that black people account for 70 percent of coronavirus deaths in the state, despite making up just 32 percent of the population.
In Michigan and Illinois, African Americans account for about a third of coronavirus cases and about 40 percent of deaths, even though that demographic makes up only 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively, of the states’ total populations.