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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics are more likely to be endangered by the coronavirus due to chronic health conditions and the effects of economic inequality, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in Friday's White House briefing.

What he's saying: "We do not think people of color are biologically or genetically predisposed to get COVID-19. There is nothing inherently wrong with you. But they are socially predisposed to coronavirus exposure and to have a higher incidence of the very diseases that put you at risk for severe complications of coronavirus."

Catch up quick: African-Americans are more likely to have several underlying health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers that can make COVID-19 infections more severe, Axios' Sam Baker and Alison Snyder write.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday that African Americans "are suffering disproportionately," adding that, "[W]hen they do get infected, their underlying medical conditions ... wind them up in the ICU."
  • "Puerto Ricans have higher rates of asthma, and black boys are three times as likely to die of asthma as their white counterparts," Adams said Friday.
  • "African Americans and Native Americans develop high blood pressure at much younger ages. It's less likely to be under control and does greater harm to their organs," he noted.

The big picture: Several states and cities have reported that African Americans are dying from the virus at higher rates than any other racial demographic.

  • On social distancing, people of color are less likely to be able to practice it, Adams said. The tactic is currently one of the most effective ways people can help slow the spread of the virus.
  • On hand washing, 30% of the homes in Navajo nation don't have running water, Adams said.
  • "Only 1 in 5 African Americans and 1 in 6 Hispanics have a job that lets them work from home," Adams said. "People of color are more likely to live in densely packed areas and in multi-generation housing situations which create higher risk for spread of a highly contagious disease like COVID-19."

The bottom line: "It doesn't matter if you look fit, if you look young, you are still at risk for getting and spreading and dying from coronavirus," Adams said.

Go deeper: African Americans are disproportionately dying from coronavirus

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

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