Racial Disparity in COVID-19 Impact Not Apparent In Florida

While some cities and states are seeing African-Americans dying at a higher rate than their share of the population in those areas, data from the Florida Department of Health does not yet show a similar disparity.

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It's often said pandemics don't discriminate, that a virus doesn't care if you're a man or woman, white, black, Hispanic or any race or ethnicity.

But in several areas around the nation, black people are over-represented among COVID-19 deaths, compared to their share of the populations.

In Illinois, 42 percent of the dead were classified as being black, while blacks compose only 15 percent of the state's population.

In Louisiana, blacks compose 70 percent of the deaths, but only a third of the population.

And in Michigan, 41 percent of the deaths were of black people, while they compose 14 percent of the population.

But, the disparities being reported in those states do not appear to extend to Florida - at least not yet.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 17 percent of the 283 Florida residents who have died are listed as being black. The US Census Bureau says 17 percent of the Florida population is black.

NBC News' Morgan Radford, who has been looking into the issue where the disparity is most apparent, says:

"It’s not that black and brown people per these numbers are more susceptible to getting the virus. The reality is they’re at higher risk for severe or even deadly complications."

"For example," Radford said, "The CDC said people in black and brown communities are already over-represented when it comes to those pure-existing conditions that make COVID-19 deadly. So, we’re talking hypertension, heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes."

While reviewing the 117 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Miami-Dade and Broward counties -- a number higher than the state is reporting -- the NBC 6 Investigators found the shares of black people among deaths and population were equal in Broward.

In Miami-Dade, where racial and ethnicity designations in the data were not as uniform as in Broward, it appeared blacks were slightly over-represented among the dead in the relatively small sample, but not nearly as much as in Illinois, Louisiana and Michigan.

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