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Coronavirus In Minnesota: Shedding Light On COVID-19's Impact On The African-American Community

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- COVID-19 is shedding an even greater light on inequalities across the country. In Chicago, Black people are 5 times more likely to die of the virus than white people. There are similar disparities in New York, New Orleans, and Milwaukee.

The numbers are not so stark in Minnesota. While 84% of the population is white, they make up 68% of the COVID-19 cases. African-Americans make up 6% of the state's population, but 10% of confirmed cases.

"There is nothing that is magical about the Twin Cities area that makes them immune, it just means that your time hasn't come yet," said Dr. Maurice Sholas, a medical disparities expert who worked with Minnesota Children's Hospital for four years.

He says more African-Americans are exposed to the virus because they have essential jobs, and fewer African-Americans have regular healthcare providers.

"COVID-19 did not create healthcare disparities, it just underscores what we already knows exists," said Sholas.

He says now is the time for leaders to make more clinics and testing available in areas with a high African-American population, because with COVID-19, the worst is yet to come.

The NAACP of Minneapolis' Leslie Redmond said they would like the state to use more of an equity lens and see Gov. Walz include more people of color when in the decision-making process surrounding COVID-19.

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