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African Americans Make Up All of Richmond Coronavirus Deaths

Two buildings reflected in a window
Richmond's African-American residents make up a disproportionate number of coronavirus cases, and all confirmed deaths in the city. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM)

*This story was reported by VPM Intern Alan Rodriguez Espinoza

All eight people who died from the coronavirus in Richmond were African American, according to Danny Avula, director of Richmond and Henrico Health Districts.

Avula also said African-American residents make up 62 percent of Richmond’s 162 confirmed COVID-19 cases. African Americans only make up 48 percent of the city population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Richmond’s racial disparity in coronavirus cases mirrors one at the state level, and nationwide.

Although only about half of cases in Virginia have race and ethnicity data available, State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver said Wednesday African Americans makeup around 30 percent of those patients.

“In terms of deaths, with 59 deaths among African Americans, and with the race and ethnicity data available on 168 of our total of 195, that means 35 percent of deaths are African American,” Oliver added.

According to data from the Census Bureau, people who identify as black or African American account for 20 percent of Virginia’s population. 

Avula said during a press conference Tuesday that the Richmond City Health District plans to open a series of walk-in testing clinics in low-income neighborhoods to address COVID-19 cases among black, Hispanic and uninsured patients.

Avula tells VPM News these tests will be free of charge. The clinics will also provide low-income city residents with personal protective gear.