As residents of Minneapolis mourn and protest the death of George Floyd, the city’s Black community is also reeling from the coronavirus. Just as Floyd’s killing by a white police officer has resurfaced the effects of structural racism, the virus’ disproportionate impact has highlighted the lack of equitable healthcare access and other risk factors that have made African Americans more vulnerable to COVID-19.
As we have reported, in many states, Black Americans’ rates of infection and death have been much higher than their share of the population. Similarly, Minneapolis’ Black population has been disproportionately infected by the coronavirus. As of May 29, 34 percent of people who were infected with the virus in the city were Black, though only 18 percent of the city’s population is Black. While the city’s population is 64 percent white, 24 percent of those infected with the virus were white.
So far, 5,361 Black people have been infected by the virus in Minnesota. Minneapolis is one of six cities in the country where more than 10 percent of test results have come back as positive, according to White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx.
Commenting on the fires lit during last night’s protests, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said, “The ashes are symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish.” The statistics above are another sign of the pain that continues to go untreated.