COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black communities. In fact, Black Americans are 2.3 times more likely than white Americans to die from the virus. Black residents of Detroit, Mich., have been hit especially hard. In Detroit, Black people represent 76% of known COVID-19 diagnoses by race and 87% of deaths. Considering the sizable percentage of missing data, the Black community may have suffered even more.
In a paper entitled “Examining and addressing COVID-19 racial disparities in Detroit,” Brookings Rubenstein Fellow Rashawn Ray, Jane Fran Morgan, Lydia Wileden, Samantha Elizondo, and Destiny Wiley-Yancy address the staggeringly large racial gap in COVID-19 infections in the city. The research finds that in addition to being disproportionately more likely to contract and die from COVID-19, Black residents in Detroit also experience financial, employment, and housing stressors, all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
On March 2, the Race, Prosperity, and Inclusion Initiative at Brookings hosted a webinar to discuss COVID-19 racial disparities in Detroit and the findings of the paper. Speakers discussed the structural conditions contributing to the racial gap in COVID-19 infections among Black and other communities of color and policy recommendations to address these inequalities.