Stark racial disparities seen elsewhere in the pandemic are showing up in the early numbers from D.C.
Cases of the coronavirus are spreading in Washington D.C., with 1,523 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city and at least 32 deaths for the disease as of April 8. And as the virus establishes itself, so does a pattern seen elsewhere around the country: The majority of the deaths, 20, were of Black residents—62.5 percent of the city’s death rate, according to the most recent data from D.C.’s government. White residents have accounted for only 5 of the deaths, or 15.6 percent.
D.C.’s population is 46.4 percent Black and 45.6 percent white.
City officials began releasing race-based coronavirus data earlier this week. The numbers are preliminary and incomplete, with race going unreported in 536 of the city’s total cases. But out of the cases where race is documented, 542 of those infected with COVID-19 are Black, while 253 are white.
The disparities present in D.C. align with data from across the nation showing that Black people are more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and more likely to die from it. Black people account for 70 percent of coronavirus deaths in Louisiana, despite being 32.7 percent of the state’s overall population. In Milwaukee, Black people account for 81 percent of deaths and only 26 percent of the city’s population. Around 68 percent of deaths in Chicago have been Black, while Black people make up 30 percent of the city’s population. And in Michigan, Black people make up 14 percent of the state population and 40 percent of the COVID-19 deaths.