Activists help African American communities hit hardest by coronavirus

Activists help minority communities during pandemic

Chicago — The coronavirus outbreak has exposed deep inequalities in our society. Especially in Chicago, where African Americans are five times more likely to die of the virus than whites. Now, there are new efforts in fighting this disturbing trend.

Activists trying to stop gun violence on Chicago's South Side have a new message: Stay home. Autry Phillips runs the anti-violence group target area. He's passing out two fliers to save lives: stopping gun violence and coronavirus. 

"There's an old saying that when the country catches a cold, the black community catches pneumonia. That's true," Phillips told CBS News.

African Americans in Chicago account for more than 60% of COVID-19 deaths, though just 30% of the population. 

A trend they're fighting with facts that also debunk rumors, including one that circulated that coronavirus didn't affect black people.

But official numbers show minority and low-income neighborhoods are hardest hit: New York's outer boroughs and Chicago's far South Side.

That's the area where long lines for testing were seen outside the new Roseland Community Hospital.

Dr. Terrill Applewhite, who runs the site, says no public testing on the South Side until recently, was compounded by a lack of representation in early media coverage.

"I think the things that they saw and the individuals that I saw on national television did not appear to reflect their communities," Dr. Applewhite explained. "And as a result, the severity of the disease, I think may have been underestimated."

But Alfred Lumpkins, who we found online, took heed.
 
"It's a lot of people ... they're just misinformed," Lumpkins said. "But like I told them, look who's dying. It's black people."