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    COVID-19 is third-leading cause of death for Black Americans

    New data suggests the novel coronavirus is the third leading cause of death for Black Americans.

    A report from the Brookings Institution examined how Black families were dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and found it has become a leading cause of death. Only cancer and heart disease are deadlier. Black people are twice as likely to die from the virus when compared against white and Asian people.

    “In 2020 more Black Americans will die of COVID-19 than will succumb to diabetes, strokes, accidents, or pneumonia,” the report stated.

    The pandemic is the latest example of health disparities that affect Black Americans because of institutional racism, the report authors suggest.

    “If I told you on Jan. 1 that a new virus that we did not even know about would, in August, be the third-leading cause of death for Black Americans our hair should have been set on fire and we would have an extensive public policy response to this unprecedented pandemic,” report co-author Trevon Logan, an economics professor at The Ohio State University, told WTOP.

    The study also looked at the economic ramifications of COVID-19 for the Black community.

    Bradley Hardy, another member of the research team, told WTOP 50 percent of Black people live in households that have lost income since the pandemic started. Additionally, 20 percent of Black families experience some form of food insecurity.

    “There’s not just well-documented income gaps, but there’s also really yawning wealth gaps,” Hardy said. “[Black] households don’t necessarily have that resource or that cushion to lean on.”

    The study recommended “reliable fiscal policy responses” to help families cope.

    “Inadequate additional federal economic relief — such as legislation that does not provide enough unemployment assistance and supplements to the safety net — potentially threatens the economic security of Black families,” the authors warned.

    The Brookings study comes days after a report backed by the National Urban League found Black people are becoming infected at rates three times higher than those for white people. The report, titled “State of Black America Unmasked,” cited findings from American Public Media Research that showed Black people are twice as likely to die from COVID-19. Black people, along with Latinos, are four times more likely to be hospitalized compared to white patients. Part of the report’s findings is based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

    The researchers also highlighted problems with access to coronavirus tests and racial bias.

    “Black people with COVID-19 symptoms in February and March were less likely to get tested or treated than white patients,” National Urban League CEO Marc Morial wrote in a blog post.

    “Studies showed that doctors downplayed Black patients’ complaints of pain, prescribed weaker pain medication and withheld cardiac treatments from Black patients who needed them.”

    By The Atlanta Black Star

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    SALUTE OUR SAILORS: Airman Octavish Morris

    MEDITERRANEAN SEA — Airman Octavish Morris, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sews medical-grade cloth face masks in the aviation paraloft aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2020. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group is conducting operations in U.S. 6th Fleet to support maritime security operations in international waters, alongside our allies and partners. Truman has spent at least one day underway for 30 of the last 34 months, in direct support of global security around the world.

    U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kelsey Trinh

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    Life Source Hospice gives thanks, feeds Frontline workers

    Life Source Hospice held an event, ‘Feeding the Frontlines’, to say thank you, and to show appreciation to all Frontline Workers, on Thursday, June 25, 2020, 3pm – 6pm at 11605 Southfork Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA.

    “Every day, we say thanks to Frontline workers, especially our own staff, who have not wavered in caring for our patients, especially during CoVid19,” said Shedonna Martin, community relations/volunteer services.

    Life Source Hospice provided a drive-thru, curbside pickup experience which included hamburger/hotdog plate, chips, water, and plenty of goodies. The event was also sponsored by Coca Cola, Drago’s, Flannery Oaks, Greenoaks Funeral Home, Heritage Manor, Landmark Baton Rouge, Landmark Hammond, Landmark South, Life Source Home Health, Mele Printing, and Red River Bank.

    Life Source Hospice is a licensed hospice service provider, serving Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes.


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    Gov. Edwards announces creation of COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

    Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the creation of the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, which will look at how health inequities are affecting communities that are most impacted by the coronavirus.

    “We know that right now 70 percent of our deaths in Louisiana from coronavirus are African Americans. This is a disturbing trend and one that deserves our attention, which is why we are engaging a group of leaders right now while the crisis is still ongoing,” Gov. Edwards said. “When we talk about health equity, we mean everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. The great thing is that the findings and recommendations made by this Task Force will help everyone better access quality care and improve health outcomes. It will also leverage our research capabilities and intellectual brainpower in a collective manner to tackle this daunting issue.  I am asking our universities and research institutions to lead this effort.”

    Groups that will participate in the task force include:

    • Southern University’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy
    • Xavier University’s Department of Public Health Sciences
    • Health Science Centers at LSU and Tulane
    • LDH Office of Public Health
    • LDH Bureau of Minority Health Access
    • Pennington Biomedical Research Center
    • Schools of Nursing at all of Louisiana’s universities

    The immediate assignment is to make sure communities with health disparities are blanketed with good information on COVID-19 safety and prevention; provide the medical community with best practices and protocols for treating communities with underlying medical conditions and health disparities; and ensure testing availability and ease of access for all communities. This Task Force will begin its work immediately and their research will result in the creation of a Dashboard on Health Equity.

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