Apr 10, 2020 - Health

Chronic health conditions, inequality put people of color at higher risk for coronavirus

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

16 hours ago - Health

Jailing practices contribute to coronavirus spread

Photo: Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Illinois zip codes with higher rates of arrests and inmates who have been released from jail also had higher coronavirus case rates, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: Although many communities have sped up the release of low-risk offenders as a coronavirus mitigation tactic, that doesn't cover arrest or pre-trial detention practices.

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.