Per capita Coronavirus cases in the Alabama Black Belt are at high levels

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

As of August 5, 2020 at 11:25 AM
Alabama had 91,776 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(11,000 more than last week) with 1,639 deaths (41 more than last week)
-Greene County had 247 confirmed cases,
(10 more cases than last week), with 11 deaths
-Sumter Co. had 360 cases with 18 deaths
Hale Co. had 459 cases with 26 deaths

Looking at maps and statistics on the prevalence of coronavirus in Alabama, the map to the right caught my eye. It shows that the Alabama Black Belt counties across the State of Alabama have among the highest per capita rates of coronavirus cases.
The map shows the number of cases in the county, per 100,000 people.
The darker the color of the county, the higher the per capita rate of the disease.
This means while the number of cases in each county is small, in comparison to the total population of the county, the incidence, rate of disease, is higher in many of these rural counties, with significant African-American populations.
The county in the state with the highest number of cases, Jefferson with 12,186 cases, has a per capita rate per 100,000 people of 1,850. In Mobile Co with 9,269 cases, the per capita rate per 100,000 is 2, 243. In Greene County with 247 cases, the per capita rate per 100,000 people is 3,045.

For Sumter County with 360 cases, the per capita infection rate is 2,897. In Hale County with 459 cases, the per capita infection rate is 3,313. For Perry County, the infection rate per 100,000 is 4,841; in Marengo County the rate is 2,804; Dallas County has a per capita rate of 3,490; the rate for Wilcox County is 3,962; and for Lowndes County the rate is 5,768. Going toward the eastern side of the state, Montgomery County has a rate of 2,804; Bullock County has a rate of 4.396 and Macon County has a rate of 1,749.
Mostly every county in the Alabama Black Belt has a higher per capita, per 100,000 population rate than either Jefferson or Mobile counties, which have the highest numerical coronavirus head counts in the state.
This means, the coronavirus infection rate in relation to the population is proportionately much higher in the smaller, poorer, rural counties of the Alabama Black Belt. The Alabama Black Belt counties deserve more attention and funding than they have received for testing, contact tracing, isolation and treatment than they have received so far since the start of this pandemic.
As the dark color on the per capita case map suggests, the Black Belt counties, especially those in the western Black Belt have a high prevalence of the coronavirus disease and should receive more attention before the situation gets worse.
This map should not be a great surprise, since we have known that health care disparities existed in the Black Belt counties before the onset of the coronavirus. This is because these rural counties have high African-American populations, low incomes and significant poverty. Many of the people living in the Alabama Black Belt have co-morbities for the coronavirus, i. e. , diabetes, asthma, COPD, hypertension, obesity, which make people more vulnerable to the virus.
Despite the Alabama Black Belt being rural and people are more spread out than in urban areas, they do live in multi-family and in some cases crowded households, which facilitates the spread of the virus.
The map and other data are available at for examination and analysis.

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