ATLANTA — Some community leaders are calling on Governor Kemp to target non-white neighborhoods in the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic. State data suggests that COVID19 is hitting black and other communities of color much harder than white communities.
When police and fire recruits handed out masks and hand sanitizer to grocery shoppers in south DeKalb Wednesday – they were targeting an African American suburb which has had more than its share of COVID-19 cases, according to DeKalb County’s department of public health.
"We need testing in our communities. We see this pop up testing all over the state. But they're not in our community. We need to make sure we have that done in our community," said Dr. Frank Jones of the Atlanta Medical Association.
Data from two of Georgia’s largest counties shows that COVID 19 is clobbering communities of color. In DeKalb County, hotspots start in African American communities in south Dekalb then stretch north into immigrant communities near Clarkston and beyond.
Then the footprint extends into Gwinnett County with a patch of hotspots largely in communities of color—from Stone Mountain toward Lilburn and Lawrenceville—mostly south of the I-85 corridor.
"These numbers are horrifying. And no one seems to be real upset about it unless you’re a minority themselves so. It’s quite disturbing," said state Rep. Shelly Hutchinson (D-Snellville), who is among those calling on Governor Brian Kemp to direct the state to make more resources available to non-white communities – to reflect the pandemic’s disproportionate impact.
"When we see the number have a disproportionate effect on black communities – or whatever the community is – we need to make sure we are focusing our efforts in those communities," said state Sen. Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta).
Health officials said people of color are more likely to working in their workplaces now – and less likely to be working from home – as the pandemic advances. That – plus issues with insurance and health care contributes to the disproportionate spread of COVID 19 in communities of color.
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