PODCAST: BCNN1 Special Report on the Impact of the Coronavirus Plague on Black Community (BCNN1 4.19.20)

This is Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to CNN, Trump announced additional coronavirus funds for African Americans who are being disproportionately affected by the illness.

According to The Associated Press, On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its first breakdown of COVID-19 case data by race, showing that 30% of patients whose race was known were black. The federal data was missing racial information for 75% of all cases, however, and did not include any demographic breakdown of deaths. The latest Associated Press analysis of available state and local data shows that nearly one-third of those who have died are African American, with black people representing about 14% of the population in the areas covered in the analysis. Roughly half the states, representing less than a fifth of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths, have yet to release demographic data on fatalities. In states that have, about a quarter of the death records are missing racial details. Health conditions that exist at higher rates in the black community — obesity, diabetes and asthma — make African Americans more susceptible to the virus. They also are more likely to be uninsured, and often report that medical professionals take their ailments less seriously when they seek treatment.

According to USA Today, Black Americans are dying of coronavirus at much higher rates compared with other Americans in some major cities, but most federal officials and states are not keeping track or releasing racial data on coronavirus victims, raising concerns about care for the nation’s most vulnerable populations. Only a few states have released the racial information, including Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey and North Carolina. Data from these states shows blacks are dying at a disproportionately higher rate compared with whites. In Illinois, there were 13,549 coronavirus cases Tuesday and 380 deaths, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. Of the confirmed cases, 28.4% were black, 27.1% white, 10% Hispanic, 3.3% Asian and 25.7% were unknown. Of the deaths, 42.9% were black, 36.1% white, 8.4% Hispanic, 6.8% unknown and 3.7% Asian. According to the Census, roughly 15% of the state’s population is black, while whites make up 77% of the state. In Michigan, the numbers were also bleak: African Americans account for 14% of the state’s population but 33% of COVID-19 cases and 40% of deaths. In New York City, the coronavirus pandemic is killing Hispanics and African Americans at a disproportionate pace compared with their representation in the city’s population. Hispanics accounted for 34% of the deaths in the city hardest hit by the crisis; they represent 29% of the population. African Americans represented 28% of the deaths, higher than their 22% representation in the city’s population, the data showed. In contrast, white New York City residents accounted for 27% of the deaths, lower than their 32% representation in the city population. Asians represented 7% of the deaths, well below their 14% share of the population.

According to The Daily Advertiser, In Louisiana, one of the hardest hit states in the country, 70% of the deaths related to coronavirus were African American and 29% were white, according to the state’s health department. As of Wednesday, there were 17,030 cases across the state and 652 deaths. African Americans make up 32% of the state’s population.

According to Block Club Chicago, Black coronavirus victims are dying at disproportionately high rates, a problem Gov. JB Pritzker said is due, in part, to “decades, frankly, maybe centuries, of inequality of application of health care to people of color.” In Chicago, according to a WBEZ analysis, 70 percent of the people who have died from coronavirus are Black. Black people comprise just 29 percent of Chicago’s population. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said, statewide, about 30 percent of the people dying from coronavirus are Black. According to 2019 census estimates, Black people are about 14.6 percent of the state’s population.

According to CNN, Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem, a fixture in the cultural center of black America, has lost 11 parishioners in the last month, nine to Covid-19, according to Rev. Johnnie Green and church members. Two died of natural causes. Green dreads answering his cell phone these days, fearing another call about a member of his congregation succumbing to the coronavirus. Green, who has been ministering to his flock via Facebook Live and Zoom from the dining room of his New Jersey home, said, “We deal with death all the time but we’ve never had to deal with a succession of death like now. It was as if every other day I was getting a call that another parishioner had passed.” Even after four decades in the ministry, the experience overwhelms Green. The mounting death toll leaves little time for proper grieving. Green said, “We see a lot of violence. We see gang activity from time to time. I’ve had to preside over the funerals of kids who were literally killed outside the doors of the church. But we’ve never seen anything like this.” The pandemic has hit black Americans especially hard. It has fallen on Green’s close-knit congregation with unrelenting ferocity.

According to KSLA12 News, Pastor Ronnie Hampton of New Vision Community Church in Shreveport died March 25. On Tuesday, March 24 Pastor Hampton was told he tested positive for the coronavirus and died Wednesday evening. He was known for his annual movement ‘Takin’ it to the Streets’ which is scheduled to happen in June. Over the years he has partnered with the Northwest Louisiana food bank to provide meals to more than 83 families every third Saturday at his church. Close friends say he wasn’t feeling himself and was tired. In a Facebook message to his parishioners on Sunday. He told them he went to the E-R Friday afternoon from a chronic cough that caused abdominal pain. He was later told he had pneumonia in both lungs. While in isolation, he was swabbed for the coronavirus. Those results came back positive Tuesday and Pastor Hampton died.

According to Fox News, Several beloved church leaders in Flint, Mich., have died from the coronavirus. Bishop Robert Earl Smith Sr., 82, Pastor Kevelin Jones, 72, of Bountiful Love Ministries, and Elder Freddie Brown Jr., of Jackson Memorial Temple, died after testing positive for COVID-19. Chris Martin, pastor of Cathedral of Faith Ministries, told WJRT, “Pastor Kevelin Jones and Bishop Robert Smith were both fathers to me. I had the chance to serve at Bountiful Love Church of God in Christ under pastor Kevelin Jones for years.” Smith, remembered as a bold witness of the gospel of Jesus, would hold a bullhorn and preach on the sidewalk. Martin said both Brown and Jones had underlying health conditions. It’s unclear exactly how the three pastors contracted the virus.

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!