In North Carolina and across the nation, black communities are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates. But there has been little consensus about why that may be the case.
Some health officials cite “pre-existing medical conditions” as a key factor. Black Americans are more likely to suffer from hypertension, heart disease, asthma and diabetes than white Americans — all conditions that could make them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and less likely to recover from it.
Other public health experts believe that structural inequity is the larger contributor. Workers in black communities are less able to work from home and more likely to use public transportation, two factors which add an increased risk of exposure to coronavirus.