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: African students trapped in China as home countries deny re-entry

African students in China

Mar. 2, 2020 (GIN) – The coronavirus is spreading fast beyond its China borders, with cases now rising in parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Some 90,000 people have been infected in over 65 countries and 3,000 worldwide have died of Covid-19.
As soon as the virus emerged, the World Health Organization named thirteen countries in Africa (Algeria, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) at greatest risk of acquiring the virus, due to established direct links or frequent travel to and from China.
Yet few active cases have been reported in sub-Saharan Africa so far. “This is the question that everyone is asking,” said Amadou Alpha Sall, head of the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal. “Whether it’s a matter of faulty detection, climatic factors or simple fluke, the remarkably low rate of coronavirus infection in African countries, with their fragile health systems, continues to puzzle — and worry.”
Thumbi Ndung’u, director of a Durban-based research centre, SANTHE, said: “I don’t think anybody knows why Africa appears to be unscathed, possibly because there isn’t much travel to that particular part of China from Africa – back and forth.
Yet according to Quartz Africa, some 4,600 African students may be unwilling exiles, unable to return home from China for fear of contagion. Countries keeping nationals abroad include Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya. Ghana has no plans yet to repatriate its nationals. The National Union of Ghana Students called for the immediate evacuation of Ghanaians in Wuhan.
Uganda has reportedly denied repatriation to an estimated 67 Ugandan students in Wuhan.
Last week, dozens of African students staged a silent protest at Wuhan University of Science and Technology holding signs saying please, please, please bring us home. In Nigeria, local TV ran a video plea from an unnamed Nigerian student.
Hundreds of Kenyans are stuck in China. Foreign affairs secretary Macharia Kamau says that students are “safe where they are.” Kenya has only 1 doctor per 5,000 citizens and spends only 4.7 of its GDP on healthcare – well below the global average.
South Africa will be the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to evacuate its citizens from China and affected areas.
Kopo Oromeng, a Botswana student at the University of Delaware started a petition to “Evacuate African Students from Wuhan, Hubei” “What does the AU stand for, if it cannot stand for the lives of black young students at a time of need?
“Our African students in Wuhan do not deserve to be stranded for so long. We are their voice in this tragedy,” commented a signee.

Newswire: New hurdle for Nigerians seeking U. S. visas to settle here

Feb. 3, 2020 (GIN) – She’s your pediatrician. He’s your surgeon. She’s a civil engineer. He has a doctorate. She’s an Emmy Award winner. He was a Chicago Bear.
They’re Nigerian-Americans who have set down roots in Dallas, Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, Phoenix and Houston – the latter of which has the largest Nigerian population outside Brazil and Africa. They’re the largest group among African immigrants in the U.S. – about 327,000. They’re a tiny portion of the U.S. population, but they rank as the most successful ethnic group in the U.S.
Yet, on the eve of Black History month, the President callously expanded a travel ban that effectively bars Nigerians from obtaining visas to immigrate here permanently. The new restrictions will not apply to tourist, business, or other nonimmigrant travel. But for the large Nigerian diaspora in the US, the policy will be devastating to a community with deep family and cultural ties to their home country.
Nigerians expressed disbelief and anger after the Trump administration announced the policy, which takes effect Feb. 21. The decision affects Nigeria Eritrea, Sudan, and Tanzania as well as Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar. Additionally, immigrants from Sudan and Tanzania will be excluded from the diversity visa lottery, which grants green cards to as many as 50,000 people every year.

Many Nigerians wondered why they specifically were targeted, when many other countries might pose similar security threats. Amaha Kassa, head of African Communities Together, which advocates for African immigrants and their families, told reporters that at the group’s latest meeting in New York City, dozens of Nigerians were asking one question: “Why single us out?”
Immigrant advocates say it’s based on discriminatory motivations.
For Okorafor Chimedu, a 29-year-old teacher in Warri, Nigeria, with a university degree and relatives already in the United States, his chances now to join them appear slim.
“I hope the two nations will rectify their differences soon so that the ban can be lifted,” he said to a reporter. “We need each other to progress in this world. No man is an island of his own.”
Omar Jadwat of the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project suggested the ban was imposed because the excluded countries don’t share enough information so that (we) can vet their citizens when they arrive.
The so-called “Muslim ban,” already affects citizens from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and North Korea.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, sharply disputed the U.S. move.
“In our view, (the ban) was not well thought out but based largely on negative narratives spread by naysayers. I know we are working very well with our neighbors, the EU and the U.S. to ensure that terrorism is addressed.”
“Our advice to the U.S. is that it should have a rethink on the issue because any travel ban is bound to affect investment and growth in the country and those who will be affected are the most vulnerable people in Nigeria.”
In a separate development, China has halted the issuance of visas to Nigerians citing their effort to control the spread of the coronavirus in the Asian country.