By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
Baltimore City Sen. Nick Mosby is among dozens of members of the Maryland General Assembly, who want to know how the cases of COVID-19 cases and deaths around the state manifest along racial lines.
Mosby, who told the AFRO he has been seeking the racial demographics connected to the coronavirus pandemic, “at least three weeks ago,” seems to have been prophetic in his query. This week, the news that the virus has infected and killed Black Americans disproportionately has exploded throughout the media.
For example, recent reports find that 70 percent of the people who have died of COVID-19 in Chicago are Black, although the city’s Black population is only 30 percent. Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, 27 percent of the population is Black, yet 81 percent of the people that have succumbed to COVID-19 have been Black. Medical experts point to similar disparities exist in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia. And many fear that once race is attached to the number of cases and deaths in Maryland, the state will see the same disparities.
“I believe that Governor Hogan has exhibited tremendous leadership as our state grapples with this global pandemic and I hope that he will lead on this critically important issue as well,” Mosby said in a statement this week.
“We must be vigilant in our sworn duty to protect every Marylander and having access to this information will go a long way towards ensuring that we do not further exasperate the structural inequities and disparities that persist in the health and economic outcomes in minority communities. I trust that the administration is committed to full transparency as it relates to information and data which will inform the strategies we employ to make it through these unprecedented times.”
Mosby, along with 80 other legislators support the initiative that seeks comprehensive data that includes:
- number of positive and negative COVID-19 cases by zip code residency;
- number of individuals being tested for COVID-19 broken down by race;
- number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 by race;
- number of COVID-19 related inpatient hospitalizations by race;
- number of COVID-19 deaths by race.
“If we are not identifying and addressing these disparities as the pandemic progresses, we are effectively leaving Marylanders in the dark, imperiling lives, and creating residual health and associated economic consequences in communities that are already grappling with major challenges,” Mosby stated.
“Currently, decisions to engage, test, and treat the general public of COVID-19 are being made hourly, and every day the public is without the demographical data in the midst of this brewing pandemic; we are missing opportunities to slow down the compounding effect and increasing residual comorbidity concerns in Maryland’s most vulnerable communities.”