Yes, Black People can get it: Coronavirus Hits Home as Josephine Howell Tests Positive
By Omari Salisbury
Seattle, WA - Seattle area songbird Josephine Howell remains in high spirits and in a prayerful state after testing positive for the Coronavirus earlier this week. She made the public aware of her positive status during a YouTube post on Wednesday. Howell made a direct appeal to the community to raise $2500 for support during this time. According to the donation website, 62 people quickly pledged a total of $2,814 and the donation drive is now closed (Prayers are still welcome). In a post this morning on her Facebook, Howell thanked the community for its support and she also shared that her recovery thus far has been up and down but she is on trajectory to a full recovery.
Coronavirus is Equal Opportunity Killer
Early on when the virus was taking a toll on mostly elderly White people there was some in African American communities nationwide that thought that Blackness was an immunity against the Coronavirus.
This myth began to crack when several NBA players such as Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell tested positive as well as British acting heartthrob Idris Elba and Houston rapper Scarface all tested positive.
As more testing increases and the national death toll rises we see more and more that the Coronavirus is an equal opportunity killer but where the ultimate difference might lay is not in who the color of who gets infected but rather the access to testing and adequate healthcare in Black communities across the country.
Systemic Racism, Lack of access impact Black communities nationally
The actual socio-economic state of Black people in America can definitely make them even more vulnerable to die from the virus as others from different races.
The City of Milwaukee a perfect example. Milwaukee has long been known for being one of the most segregated big cities in America as well as the long standing marginalization of the mostly poor Black community there. The level of services be it broadband internet to access to health care has always been uneven in Milwaukee.
Currently more Black people have died of the Coronavirus in Milwaukee than all total deaths in the State of Wisconsin according to news one.
Because of the highly segregated nature of Milwaukee, it is easy to see the that Coronavirus is currently fitting a pattern in the city in which certain health outcomes are disproportionately higher in areas where Black people live.
“Looking at the maps of Milwaukee, and looking where people live, looking at the history of redlining and segregation and how that crosses over into today,; when we’re talking about various health outcomes like infant mortality, childhood lead poisoning, you see very similar distributions,” Milwaukie Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik told the Journal Sentinel Newspaper.
Back here at home
With a well known African American Seattleite like Josephine Howell testing positive for Coronavirus, it hits home that yes, Black people can get Coronavirus and to believe otherwise very well might play into racist myths already at play in areas of the health sector that often times marginalize the level of care that Black people receive.
Wishing Josephine Howell a speedy recovery and we all hope to hear you singing again soon!