African Americans at greater risk for coronavirus due to outside factors

Updated: Apr. 22, 2020 at 10:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - More than 30% of COVID-19 cases are in the African American community, and many of them are hit harder with symptoms. Experts say this is due to many underlying conditions and social issues.

“These issues stem a little deeper than the disparities that we’re seeing right now, the root issues tend to be related to social determinants of health,” Kristamarie Collman, a physician, said.

One of those social determinants includes more minorities living in lower-income communities.

“Members of these communities are more likely uninsured. The poorer access to healthy foods and even good health care,” Collman said.

With limited access to health care, those in poorer health are at higher risk.

“Some of the underlying potential risk factors for having more severe disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, even pulmonary diseases such as asthma,” Collman said.

Right now, some advice Collman offers to everyone is to follow health official guidelines. “Make sure you’re looking at listening to reliable new sources from organizations like the World Health Organization, from the CDC, that we are practicing good hand hygiene."

Collman adds the higher rates of African Americans affected by COVID-19 do not come from a genetic predisposition to the disease.

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