Looking at COVID-19 and African American communities

Posted at 6:36 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 19:33:05-05

(WXYZ) — In tonight's 7 UpFront report we're taking a closer look at the impact the pandemic is having on African-American communities.

Urban League Detroit and Southeastern Michigan President and CEO N. Charles Anderson is joining us to talk about everything from testing minorities in our cities to making the COVID-19 vaccine available to them.

You can see the full interview in the video player above.

"Certainly here in Michigan and the City of Detroit, I think all the efforts are being made to make sure availability [of vaccine] is there, access is there and making sure that people who want the vaccine can get the vaccine. But I also think there is a need for us to keep trying to communicate to the community, particularly the African American community, that the vaccine is safe and it's been tested," Anderson says. "African Americans were most likely and disproportionately by the coronavirus, most likely to die, and so now we have the opportunity to get the vaccine and there is some reservation and hesitation, about 85% of the people who are getting the vaccine are white across the country, so we need to change that demographic and make sure African Americans are going, signing up, and getting that vaccine."

"I think here, for example, having testing sites in multiple places to deal with those individuals who have trouble with transportation, going to the nursing homes or other locations where people are, like a homeless shelter," he says. "I think the focus is really important and I think the work that they're doing is making an impact. I am certain that it made an impact on the availability of testing. And so, now, who hope it's going to make a significant impact on the availability and access the vaccination. My thing is to encourage African Americans to not listen to some of the negative connotations that are out there, the comments from people who flunk science in high school. Being misled, as we know people can be with social media, or paying attention to what the facts are, talking to their own doctor, and making sure that they are protecting themselves and their loved ones from the coronavirus."