New poll reveals COVID-19’s impacts on African American communities

On Tuesday, May 19, the African American Research Collaborative in partnership with the NAACP and the Equity Research and Innovation Center at Yale School of Medicine presented new polling detailing the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on African American communities. The poll is the first of its kind, with a deep dive into how African Americans are responding to the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
AARC polled a large national sample of African Americans and developed the questions in consultation with a group of leading African American university-based scholars from the fields of public health, law, education, political science, and sociology.
Among the important findings:
  • 80 percent of those polled preferred to hold off on ending the shutdown to assure their safety ahead of boosting the economy;
  • 64 percent of African Americans agree they are less likely than Whites to be offered Coronavirus/COVID-19 testing and 60 percent agree they are less likely than Whites to have everything done to save their lives in the hospital;
  • 80 percent of African Americans think that President Trump has done a poor job of responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, with 59 percent saying the same about the federal government;
  • 75 percent of African Americans think that Donald Trump is the single most dangerous threat to African American people;
  • 66 percent believe that race is a factor in police treatment in regards to re-open protestors, and that 58 percent do not trust police to fairly and equally enforce rules about social distancing.
Regarding the polling release,Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP, said, “This poll brings attention to the true sentiment of Black communities within this pandemic and beyond. The impact of this virus will only further harm our community while increasing racial disparities and structural bias across the board. This moment calls for us to trust and listen to the community most impacted by COVID-19.”
“These data shed light on some of the root causes driving disparate COVID-19 health outcomes for Black Americans,” said MarcellaNunez-Smith, Director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC) at Yale School of Medicine. “This further supports concerns about how effective educational and public health messaging is within these communities.   And this is perhaps the first national survey to highlight that the majority of Black Americans suspect racial bias affects their access to equitable care for COVID-19. These findings are a roadmap to guide urgent lifesaving interventions.”
Henry Fernandez, Co-founder and Principal of the African American Research Collaborative (AARC) said, “This poll is both sad and empowering.  It demonstrates how devastating economically and personally the pandemic has been on African American families and how little trust they have in the federal government and President Trump.  But it also shows that this has made black people more committed to vote to remove Trump and elect officials who will effectively address COVID-19.”
Tracey Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School and Founding Director of The Justice Collaboratory, said, “Trust is critical as we navigate this pandemic. These data show both the dearth of trust African Americans have in federal officials and their higher levels of trust in local officials and medical experts.  As we chart a path forward, we should learn from the experiences of African Americans.”
“The pandemic has pulled the curtain back on many of the nation’s racial problems. It is clear from our survey that African Americans are very concerned, not only about the racially-disparate impact of COVID-19 but also about the federal government’s laissez-faire approach to slowing down the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Ray Block, Director of the Research Project for AARC and Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies, Penn State University.

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