Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that officials are trying to combat a myth in the African-American community that blacks are immune to coronavirus because it is contributing to racial death disparities.
Lightfoot made the comments in an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC on Wednesday. She said that blacks were suffering alarmingly high rates of death from coronavirus, and attributed that to underlying health disparities, and also the myth of immunity.
“We know that for example, the rate of diabetes, heart disease, upper respiratory illnesses, all of those things are exponentially magnified throughout black and brown communities. And this virus attacks those underlying conditions with a vengeance,” said Lightfoot.
“The fact that black folks are dying seven times the rate of any other demographic, that’s a hard thing to even wrap your mind around,” she continued.
“But what we’re doing is this. Number one, we’re making sure that we’re being very public about the data. We need people to know this,” Lightfoot said.
“There’s a myth in black Chicago that black folks can’t get coronavirus,” she explained, “and we are doing everything we can to disabuse people of that notion.”
She went on to say that Chicago officials are creating a task force to address the health disparities in the minority communities of Chicago.
The myth that blacks are immune to coronavirus appeared to have started as a meme and a joke on social media. The prevalence of the myth and the drastic racial disparity in pandemic deaths have led to efforts to dispel and debunk the bizarre claim.
Similar claims worsened the death rate among African-Americans in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to local authorities.
Here’s the interview with Mayor Lightfoot:
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