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COVID-19 deaths, complications soar among African American population, Clark County targets message

Posted at 9:26 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 12:41:52-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Authorities are raising the alarm among certain racial communities which appear to be more severely impacted by COVID-19 because of access to healthcare and socioeconomic factors.

Clark County has released a new public service announcement, which is targeting the African American community.

"African Americans here and across the country are contracting coronavirus at higher rates than others," said Commissioner Lawrence Weekly in the PSA released Monday.


"People of color and those with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma are being hit hard," added Weekly.

According to ABC News, coronavirus cases and deaths are disproportionately higher for blacks in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans when compared to the general population.

"We do have higher numbers of hypertension and diabetes and asthma across the board as a whole, but then when you add COVID-19 to those things that we're just barely managing as a community of people and COVID-19 makes for a deadly combination," said Roxann McCoy, president of the NAACP Nevada.

"The numbers are speaking for themselves, when you look at the population of African Americans, regardless of what city it is, in Las Vegas we have a low percentage of the population that we make up, but we make up a higher percentage of the death rates that we're seeing," added McCoy.

The Southern Nevada Health District has released data, which includes details on age, race, and other health details for known COVID-19 cases.

The data shows an infection rate around 10% for African Americans in Clark County.

This same racial community comprises approximately 11% of the total Clark County population, according to the United States Census Bureau.

The same data set reveals the infection rate for Whites is 20.5 percent, Hispanics is 14 percent, and Asians are under 6%.

The information also shows more than 40% of cases in Clark County, the race of the individual is not known or reported.

"Unfortunately, our minority communities are affected the most when you have medical situations, the health care provided in our minority communities is nowhere near that of our more affulent communities," said Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak during a news conference on Wednesday.

Sisolak told reporters the rate of infection among minorities should be better tracked with additional data reporting to the state.

"It is something we are look at, we have not tracked the statistics, I would like to get those statistics," said Gov. Sisolak.

"We don't have those, those could be tabulated and I'd be happy to share them with [reporters] but it's a big concern," added. Gov. Sisolak.

McCoy says she would like to see targeted messaging with additional details for the African American community for information regarding healthcare access, testing and related expenses.

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"Make testing readily available to African Americans," said McCoy.

"They say it's available to people that don't have insurance, but put information out there as to where we can go within our own community to get those tests done, and not feel like 'I don't have insurance and therefore I can't be tested' we need to make sure that message is loud and clear," said McCoy.