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.

Newswire : #MeToo creator, Tarana Burke will push button to drop New Year’s Eve Ball In Times Square

By Alanna Vagianos, Huffington Post

Tarana Burke
Activist Tarana Burke created the #MeToo movement 10 years ago (Getty images)

Someone very special will drop this year’s New Year’s Eve Ball in Times Square.
Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement, will push the ceremonial Waterford Crystal button that will begin the 60-second countdown and release the iconic ball in New York City on Dec. 31.
Burke, a 44-year-old youth organizer who founded Just Be Inc., created the “Me Too” campaign in 2007, long before hashtags even existed.
“I am delighted to be participating in this momentous occasion,” Burke said in a press release. “I think it’s fitting to honor the Me Too movement as we close a historic year and set our intentions for 2018. With the new year comes new momentum to fuel this work and we won’t stop anytime soon.”
The #MeToo movement helped lead to the recent wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore and Louis C.K. The campaign sparked a public reckoning of how we handle sexual violence in our culture.
Time Magazine named “The Silence Breakers” its “2018 Person of the Year,” citing change-makers like Burke along with actresses Ashley Judd and Alyssa Milano.
“New Year’s is a time when we look at the most significant cultural and political moments of the last year, when we look for inspiration by honoring and giving a global platform to those who have made a difference,” Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said in the press release. “Tarana Burke’s courage and foresight have changed the world this year, and, we hope, forever. We are honored to have her be part of the 2018 New Year’s celebration.”
Tarana Burke has a connection to the Alabama Black Belt where she served as a participant and later staff member of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, based in Selma during the 1990’s.

Celebration of Hank Sanders’ 1,500th Senate Sketches column held in Selma


Shown above: Dr. Carol P. Zippert and John Zippert Co-Publishers of Greene County Democrat with Senator Hank Sanders displaying the 1st and 1,500th  Senate Sketches

On Saturday March 19, 2016 more than a hundred community leaders from around the state of Alabama convened at the Bridge Crossing Theater in Selma to celebrate the writing and publication of the 1,500th Senate Sketches column written by State Senator Hank Sanders.
Senator Sanders has been writing sketches for fifteen hundred consecutive weeks starting on April 29, 1987. The Greene County Democrat, weekly newspaper published on Wednesdays in Eutaw, Alabama, has printed each Senate Sketches column, in its entirety since the beginning 29 years ago. Each Sketches column has a prologue section which deals with an issue in the Legislature, a community concern, a trip that the Senator took, events in his life and family and other timely and meaningful topics. There is also a “Daily Diary” section, which lists events and people that Senator Sanders has interacted with during the past week. Each column ends with an “Epilogue”, which consists of a short reminder of the lessons learned from the prologue and daily diary sections.
Senate Sketches is now also circulated on the Internet, published in other newspapers, read on the radio and distributed in other ways but the Greene County Democrat remains the only publication that has printed all 1,500 columns in full.
The celebration included a reading by a number of people of their favorite Sketches column, special presentations including songs, plaques, poems and comments, and a response by Senator Sanders himself.
Scott Douglas of the Greater Birmingham Ministries read Sketches # 1437, “An Open Letter to Mr. Charles Barkley”. In this column, Sanders takes the basketball legend to task for statements he made that slavery was not very bad for Black people and its impact is exaggerated.
Alphonzo Morton III, a science teacher at Greene County High School and adult adviser to the Twenty-first Century Youth Leadership Movement, read Sketches # 905 “Men and Boys” which speaks to the differences, responsibilities and obligations of men as contrasted to boys.
Sharon Wheeler and her mother, Carolyn Wheeler commented on Sketches #1323 which was a memorial to Kirk Wheeler their father and husband. Sanders delivered these remarks at Wheeler’s funeral.
Faya Rose Toure (Sanders) did a rap about Senate Sketches, sang some songs, helped some community people to put on a skit as part of the program. Faya Rose was instrumental in planning the celebratory program.
Carol P. Zippert, Co-Publisher of the Greene County Democrat was Mistress of Ceremonies and John Zippert, Co-Publisher of the Democrat said, “we are pleased and proud to be friends of Senator Sanders and to have published every word of every Senate Sketches column for three decades. I especially enjoy the Daily Diary section which lists the many activities that Senator Sanders is involved in each week.”
Dave White, a reporter formerly with the Birmingham News praised Sketches, “for its writing and using the newspaper column format to provide very clear ideas in a very clear writing style. He also indicated the great discipline, consistency and perseverance to write a weekly newspaper column for three decades.
State Senator Vivian Figures of Mobile presented Senator Sanders with a plaque from his Alabama Senate colleagues recognizing the achievement of 1,500 columns. Alabama New South Coalition and other groups presented plaques and acknowledgements to the Senator.
In his remarks at the conclusion of the program Senator Sanders thanked the many people who help him type, proof read and distribute the Senate Sketches column each week. He said he was thankful and impressed at hearing people read the words of their favorite column to him. “It was a great and powerful experience,” he said.
The groups in Selma, including the National Voting Rights Museum, Center for Non-Violence, Truth and Reconciliation and the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, compiled a book of the best-loved Senate Sketches, which they sold for $20.00 at the program. If you are interested in purchasing a book, contact the Center for Non-Violence, 8 Mulberry Road, Selma, AL 36703; phone 334/526-4533. Proceeds will go to support on-going community work in Selma and the Alabama Black Belt.