You know the saying: “When America gets a cold, Black America gets pneumonia.” Well, it’s a fact that’s holding true once again in the coronavirus pandemic. While some African Americans may have been surprised by how the community has disproportionately contracted the disease, few, if any, would admit to being surprised that the Black community has been hurt the most economically by the pandemic.
With unemployment numbers literally off the charts, most states under lockdown and an uncertain future ahead, it’s important for policymakers to understand and take a look at the racial disparities that are being further exacerbated by the pandemic.
While there is a push on to release numbers on how the COVID-19 disease is disproportionately impacting the community, another group is pushing for additional data on how the pandemic is impacting the African-American community economically. Although little if any disaggregated information on the economic impact has been released, a national survey of likely voters conducted last week by Data for Progress shows that 45% of African Americans had either lost their jobs, been put on leave or had their hours cut, compared to 33% of the nation as a whole.
In addition, 62% of African-American respondents report that they expect to have issues covering costs within the next month, and that 63% would be unable to pay their bills within a month if they lost their income.