New study seeks to learn if COVID-19 death rates are higher among African Americans

Is there a so-called ''racial divide'' when it comes to COVID-19?  

Preliminary numbers from cities like Milwaukee and Chicago suggest African Americans are dying from this disease and a rate much higher than their percentages in the overall population. 

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FOX 11 has learned that Los Angeles County is launching a new study at Drew University School of Medicine and Science in Willowbrook to determine if that is happening in Southern California in minority ''black and brown'' communities. 

Mark Ridley Thomas, LA County Supervisor says, ''There is a dearth of information that puts us in a bad position as policymakers and health care providers not knowing what we're dealing with.'' 

Governor Newsom and Dr. Anthony Fauci also talked about this earlier today, Newsom at his regular afternoon briefing was asked about this and said ''we're disaggregating the information, we want it to be accurate.'', FOX launches national hub for COVID-19 news and updates. 

Dr. Deborah Prothrow Stith, the Dean at Charles Drew, has been studying this issue of health care disparities for years.  She says the pandemic is exposing long time problems such as chronic underlying health conditions, such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, the lack of access to medical care, and the fact that a lot of blue-collar type jobs that can't be done at home are exposing people to the virus. 

''It's sad and disappointing but it's not unexpected,'' she said.  

The more knowledge we have about threats to all groups, ages, genders, the more focused the education, outreach, and treatment can be.