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African Americans Dying At 'Disproportionately Higher Rates' Of Coronavirus In California

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The latest demographic statistics released this week by the state of California show that African Americans are dying from coronavirus at significantly higher rates than other ethnicities.

Teamsters Port Division Holds Massive Food Distribution To Feed Port Truck Drivers Impacted By COVID-19 Crises
The Teamsters Port Division, in collaboration with Labor Community Services and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank hosts a food distribution for port truck drivers impacted by the coronavirus shutdown measures at the Port of Los Angeles on April 22, 2020 in San Pedro, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Of the 1,170 COVID-19 deaths for which the state Department of Health shows had race and ethnicity numbers through Tuesday, 138 of the victims were African-American, or 11.8 percent of the deaths.

African-Americans make up 6 percent of California's population, meaning their death rate from coronavirus is nearly double their population representation.

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are also dying at higher rates. 14 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have died of the disease so far, accounting for 1.2 percent of all deaths, even though they make up 0.3 percent of the population.

For comparison, whites have accounted for 35.6 percent of all coronavirus deaths and make up 36.6 percent of California's population. Latinx has accounted for 31.1 percent of all deaths and make up 38.8 percent of the population. Asians have accounted for 17.6 percent of all deaths and make up 15.4 percent of the population.

"Health outcomes are affected by forces including structural racism, poverty and the disproportionate prevalence of underlying conditions such as asthma and heart disease among Latinos and Black Californians," DPH said in a news release Monday.

As of Wednesday In Los Angeles County, for the 646 coronavirus deaths for which authorities have race and ethnicity statistics, 100 of the victims were African-American, accounting for 15.4 percent of deaths countywide.

Last week, L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer addressed the alarmingly high death rate among African-Americans.

"I want you to know that we're working hard with our community partners to respond to the disproportionate number of deaths that we continue to see among African Americans," she said.

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