In Louisiana, one of the states most devastated by the coronavirus, about 70 percent of the people who have died are African-American, officials announced on Monday, though only a third of the state’s population is black.
In the county around Milwaukee, where 27 percent of residents are black, nearly twice as many African-American residents tested positive for the virus as white people, figures released this week show.
And in Chicago, where African-American residents make up a little less than a third of the population, more than half of those found to have the virus are black. The death toll there is even more alarming: African-American residents make up 72 percent of those who have succumbed to the virus in Chicago.
The data emerging in some places, researchers said, is partly explained by factors that could make black Americans more vulnerable in any outbreak: They are less likely to be insured, more likely to have existing health conditions and, as a result of implicit racial bias, more likely to be denied testing and treatment. And then, the researchers said, there is the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus in a society where black Americans disproportionately hold jobs that do not allow them to stay at home.
Data on race and the coronavirus is too limited to draw sweeping conclusions, experts say, but disparate rates of sickness — and death — have emerged in some places.