Dear Black People: Coronavirus Will Kill You
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor | 3/27/2020, 6 a.m.
Coronavirus or Covid-19 or “rona” as some are calling it will kill you. You may have seen some of the conspiracy theories, myths or outright lies floating around the internet stating that black folks cannot get coronavirus. You may have the false belief that those with “melanin poppin’” cannot get this deadly virus or if they get it, will not die from it. Stop the madness.
Actor Idris Elba, NBA stars on multiple teams, and black folks in your everyday life have it. You may have heard the sad case of retired nurse Pat Frieson, 61, who became the first casualty of the virus in Illinois. What looked like an asthma attack has now been classified as coronavirus. Frieson has a sister in the same hospital also suffering from the same symptoms and now fighting for her life. Frieson and her sister are black.
Ives Green. a 58-year-old runner, and award-winning Special Olympics athlete, became the first person in Louisiana to die from coronavirus. He lived in a facility for people with developmental disabilities and had limited exposure to people from outside of the facility. His family is still trying to figure out how someone seemingly in great health, contracted coronavirus. Green is black.
You may have heard of Dr. James Pruden, 71, an emergency room doctor in Paterson, NJ, who is now in critical condition after testing positive for coronavirus. He is a trained first responder who is in charge of the hospital’s emergency preparedness unit and lead the hospital through the swine flu outbreak in 2009. Dr. Pruden is now fighting for his life and he is black.
Melanin is not Vibranium and America isn’t Wakanda even in the Marvel Universe, so why some black people, who are often disproportionately impacted by medical conditions for a myriad of reasons, believe they are immune to coronavirus is beyond me? For those who think Idris Elba isn’t “black, black,” the British-born brother’s parents are from Sierra-Leone and Ghana meaning he is African in addition to being a black Brit which makes him unequivocably “black, black.”
For the record, people in 19 African countries have tested positive for coronavirus and for sure they are “black black.”
To make it plain, I’m not talking about skin color, I’m talking about identity. If you are African living anywhere in the world including the continent, black American, mixed race, biracial, Hotep, Greek, GDI, hood, bougie, religious, atheist or any category of black, there isn’t a magical pill or pigment that’s going to stop you from getting coronavirus if you come in contact with someone who has it.
Even if you don’t think you have it, you very well could have it and knowingly or unknowingly spread the virus that may not be fatal to you but could be fatal to others. It is called being asymptomatic. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary uses asymptomatic in the following sentence to give people a better understanding of the meaning of the word:
“Those measures could work slowing the spread of the virus, which is also believed to be spread by asymptomatic people.”