Newsletter: COVID-19 Is More Deadly For Blacks In Chicago

Sharon Hancock and Shelia Theresa Adams pose for a portrait as they wait for the bus
haron Hancock, left, and Shelia Theresa Adams pose for a portrait as they wait for the bus after visiting a friend. Chicago's mayor says the city is launching a health campaign focused on black and brown communities. Charles Rex Arbogast
Sharon Hancock and Shelia Theresa Adams pose for a portrait as they wait for the bus
haron Hancock, left, and Shelia Theresa Adams pose for a portrait as they wait for the bus after visiting a friend. Chicago's mayor says the city is launching a health campaign focused on black and brown communities. Charles Rex Arbogast

Newsletter: COVID-19 Is More Deadly For Blacks In Chicago

Hey there! It’s Monday! And grocery shopping over the weekend reminded me of this cartoon. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. More than 70% of Chicago’s deadly COVID-19 cases were African American

The coronavirus is infecting Chicago’s black residents at a much higher rate than other ethnic groups. While black Chicagoans make up 29% of the city’s population, they account for 50% of COVID-19 cases — and 70% of COVID-19-related deaths.

The racial disparities are mirrored in Cook County, where black residents make up 23% of the population and account for 58% of COVID-19 deaths. Health experts say this finding is “upsetting, but not surprising.” [WBEZ]

And in Chicago, most employees at low-paying jobs are black or Latino. These workers are more vulnerable to the economic devastation brought on by the current health crisis. [WBEZ]

Mayor Lori Ligthfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker addressed the racial disparities on Monday, when the state announced 1,006 new cases, bringing the total number of known cases to 12,262. The state also reported 33 more deaths, pushing the toll to 307. [WBEZ]

2. The. U.S. passes a symbolic death toll — and the worst is yet to come

The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. surpassed 10,000 on Monday. That news comes as U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams predicted the week ahead will be a “Pearl Harbor” or “9/11” moment. [CNN]

And the 360,000 confirmed cases across the U.S. is almost certainly a low estimate, according to researchers, who said testing is still lagging in many parts of the county. [New York Times]

Researchers say rural communities — which are only beginning to grapple with the outbreak — are more vulnerable than city dwellers. Rural residents, who have poorer overall health, generally live in areas where one in four hospitals are close to being shuttered. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, as the price of supplies has skyrocketed, hospitals are trying to make in-house chemicals and get masks from nail salons and auto body shops. [NPR]

And a report obtained by The Nation shows the U.S. military was aware of the threat of a global influenza pandemic, and even anticipated a shortage of ventilators, face masks and hospital beds over three years ago. The report also called a novel coronavirus the “most likely and significant threat.” [The Nation]

3. UK Prime Minister Borris Johnson moved to ICU with COVID-19

The British leader was moved into an intensive care unit Monday when his symptoms worsened. The Associated Press reports that Johnson, who was admitted for routine tests on Sunday, asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to temporarily step in. [AP]

Meanwhile in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to declare a state of emergency under a newly revised law that allows the government to issue “stay at home” orders. The law does not specify punishment for violators — leaving compliance to be largely voluntary. [NPR]

U.N. leaders are saying the global shutdowns have led to a “horrifying surge” in domestic violence cases. [NPR]

Worldwide, there have been more than 1.3 million reported cases and more than 73,000 deaths. [Johns Hopkins]

4. The U.S. is “nowhere close to reopening the economy”

How long can the economy survive amid massive shut downs?

There are already at least 10 million newly unemployed Americans, and millions more are expected to file for benefits soon. But even when businesses reopen, economists say customers need to be confident they can visit without catching the virus. That confidence is unlikely to return until infection rates decline or a vaccine is created, and there is not enough data yet to tell when that might be. [New York Times]

This analysis shows that young adults are going into the financial downturn with fewer resources than previous generations. [New York Times]

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones rallied nearly 1,600 points on Monday, but experts say the uptick may only reflect market volatility. [Wall Street Journal]

5. Global air quality is dramatically improving

As more people around the world are told to stay at home, cities are seeing dramatic improvements to their air quality, climate scientists report.

China has seen an almost 25% decline in carbon emissions in February compared with the same period last year. Paired with data from Italy, India and Los Angeles, researchers are calling on governments to consider the environment when developing economic stimulus packages. [Wall Street Journal]

Here’s a satellite view of how pollution levels are falling in U.S. cities, including Chicago. [NBC]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Kanye West’s high school art is worth thousands. [Chicago Tribune]
  • Wisconsin has delayed its primary election, but a challenge in the state’s Supreme Court is expected. [WISN.com]
  • The U.S. government will label a white supremacist group a terrorist organization. [New York Times]
  • A Bronx Zoo tiger with a cough has tested positive for coronavirus. [Washington Post]

Oh, and one more thing …

Have you been ordering more meals during Illinois’ restaurant shutdown? You’re not alone. In Chicago, search terms related to delivery have spiked since the beginning of March, according to Google Trends data.

But what are Chicagoans actually ordering? According to Grubhub data, the top 5 foods that are much more popular than usual include spicy fried chicken and red velvet cake — which is surprising because I would’ve thought it’d be pizza, hot dogs or Italian beef sandwiches.

In fact, writing this story inspired me to get takeout from Pequod’s over the weekend, which is my husband’s favorite pizza in Chicago. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

Hunter is off today, but this Friday he’ll be launching the Rundown Live! I watched a test of the new live-streaming segment — and it was a lot of fun. You can watch at 4:30 p.m. CT on the WBEZ Facebook page. To receive a notification close to the event’s start time, register here.

And that makes me wonder: What questions do you have for Hunter? Ask them here, and he might answer them this week on the show.

What I want to know? Hunter, what was your very first Dungeons & Dragons figurine?

Thanks for reading and have a nice night! We’ll see you tomorrow.