For his Snapchat show, “Will at Home,” actor Will Smith talked with Dr. Anthony Fauci about COVID-19 and how the virus disproportionately has affected Black people compared to other races. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“There’s been a predominance in the African-American community. Is there a comprehension as to why that is?” asked Smith.
“Yes, there is Will, and it’s as is all situations associated with the disparities of health in minorities, particularly the African-American community. And it’s really terrible, because it’s just one of the failings of our society, is that African Americans have a disproportionate prevalence in incidents of the very comorbid conditions that put you at high risk,” said Fauci in the episode that aired on Wednesday.
Smith named two of those — hypertension and asthma — before Fauci chimed in with others.
“Obesity, diabetes. If you get infected, you’re going to have a poor outcome,” he added. “When it’s all over, is to focus a bright shining light on what disparities of health mean.”
On Friday, April 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics that show Blacks make up for 30 percent of COVID-19 patients in the United States, despite making up just 13 percent of the population.
Other celebrities besides Smith also have shined a spotlight on the affects the virus has on the Black community. People like Sean “Diddy” Combs and the New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who urged Black people not to count on the U.S. government for help.
On Saturday, April 18, Beyoncé talked about the virus’ impact on the Black community as well during a live stream event put on by Global Citizen called “One World: Together at Home.” At the time, she also thanked essential workers.
“Black Americans disproportionately belong to these essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home, and African-American communities at large have been severely affected in this crisis,” said Beyoncé.
“Those with preexisting conditions are at an even higher risk,” she added. “This virus is killing Black people at an alarmingly high rate here in America.”