Race and COVID-19: Group opens dialogue about virus hitting people of color harder

Local News

The community group says the data's in -- and it shows people of color experienced a larger percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) A community event Tuesday evening will discuss how racism and inequality has intertwined with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Greater Youngstown Community Dialogue on Racism isn’t having its in-person dialogue groups right now because of COVID-19, but the organization is still hoping to engage people in discussion about health disparities and the pandemic.

GYCDOR is having its first event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, followed by another next Tuesday. Both will be happening over Facebook Live.

The group will be talking about how race is impacting people’s health and relationships during the coronavirus pandemic.

GYCDOR’s director, Jon Paul Robles, hopes it will allow people to remain observant about issues their neighbors face.

“One of the things that we’ve noticed as we pay attention is how race plays a role in terms of health disparity and access to good health care and, sadly, this pandemic has had a larger impact statistically — the data’s in — it’s had a larger impact upon communities of color,” Robles said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found people of color are more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than white Americans.

Asian Americans are just slightly higher — they’re 1.2 times more likely to be hospitalized.

Native Americans, Black Americans and Latinx Americans are all being hospitalized about four times as much.

There is also an increased rate of death from COVID-19 among those three groups. The CDC data says Native, Black and Latinx Americans are dying from the coronavirus and related symptoms over 2.5 times more than white Americans.

Robles said even through this pandemic, GYCDOR is working to make sure its mission stays alive. He said they’re committed to paying attention and holding virtual events.

“What we need is more people who are committed to doing the work of justice, who are committed to doing the work of loving their neighbor, committed to doing the work that makes Youngstown a better community for all people — no matter what ZIP code they live in, no matter what neighborhood they live in. We need to love each other in tangible ways.”

If you’re interested, you can watch Tuesday’s live dialogue on this issue via GYCDOR’s Facebook page.

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