The Final Coronavirus News for Black Folks Newsletter

Thank you so much for joining me on this project.

Speak Patrice Presents: Coronavirus News for Black Folks is an independent newsletter that aims to empower our community by sharing coronavirus (COVID-19) news and stories as they relate to the Black Diaspora. We have 2,768 subscribers as of April 7, 2021.


Hi y’all…

This will be the final Coronavirus News for Black Folks newsletter issue. It’s fitting that I send this out today, seeing as how I received my second vaccine shot only a few hours ago.

Thank you so much for all of the time, interest, and support you’ve shown me and this project since its inception last April, whether you shared an issue with someone, sent me some kind words, became a patron on my Patreon, or simply subscribed to the newsletter. Moving forward, I’m continuing to freelance write and working on a book proposal that is explicitly *not* about Black death, pain, illness, or trauma.

If you’d like to keep up-to-date with my work (and my future book,) please stay subscribed to this Substack and/or follow me on social media at @SpeakPatrice on Twitter and Instagram.

And if you’d like to contact me about potential freelance writing gigs or diversity and inclusion consultation work, head here.

It’s been real. Thank you again for rocking with me.



More Black Americans open to vaccines after outreach efforts


“A poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in late March found that about 24% of Black American adults said they will probably or definitely not get vaccinated. That’s down from 41% in January. The latest number shows Black Americans leaning against getting shots in almost the same proportion as white Americans at 26% and Hispanic Americans at 22%…

He credited Black physicians, faith leaders and other community organizers for being trusted messengers during the pandemic, which has killed more than 550,000 Americans.”


Black Americans stand out for their concern about COVID-19; 61% say they plan to get vaccinated or already have

It’s not Tuskegee. Current medical racism fuels Black Americans’ vaccine hesitancy

The Biggest Barriers to COVID Vaccination for Black and Latinx People

Scientific America

“The problem stems from ‘a deep-rooted inability to name race as its own factor’ in disease risk, Sederstrom says. She adds that every lawyer she has consulted contends that singling out race as a criterion for eligibility violates the 14th Amendment, which extended citizenship and equal rights to Black Americans and anyone born or naturalized in the U.S. ‘If you're saying that the amendment that gives us the opportunity to supposedly address equity and equality is the thing that’s in the way of actually addressing equity and equality,’ Sederstrom says, ‘then we need to change that.’”

COVID-19 deaths: CDC may underestimate risk for people of color

Medical News Today

“With the current weighting approach, percentages of Black and Latinx populations are estimated to be higher than the actual numbers. Thus, the study authors write, while Black and Latinx people actually make up 31% of the total U.S. population, in the weighted population, these groups combined account for 47.6% of the total.

This means that the burden of COVID-19 deaths among Black and Latinx people is underrepresented in the country’s official estimates. The researchers argue that ‘a risk-based approach that directly estimates and compares risks of death across racial and ethnic groups’ would be more appropriate.”

Opinion: Black Americans should face lower age cutoffs to qualify for a vaccine

The Washington Post

“In the first half of 2020, Black Americans’ life expectancy declined almost three years to an average of 72 years, compared with a loss of almost one year for White Americans (now 78 years). Meanwhile, Black Americans are not only twice as likely to die of covid-19 as White Americans but also dying at rates similar to those of White Americans who are 10 years older. Moreover, racial inequities are most striking at younger ages; for example, Black people ages 45 to 54 are seven times more likely to die of covid-19 than similarly aged White Americans.

Why, then, are Black Americans subject to the same age cutoff for vaccination prioritization?”

Dialysis clinics should be able to vaccinate their patients on site


A recent study found that 20% of people on dialysis who developed Covid-19 died from the infection, a significantly higher percentage than in the general population. Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that people with kidney failure who get Covid-19 have the highest rate of hospitalization among all Medicare beneficiaries — a rate nearly seven times higher than the hospitalization rate for Medicare beneficiaries overall…

…Black people make up just 13% of the U.S. population but account for 35% of Americans with kidney failure; they are nearly four times more likely than white people to develop it. Ninety percent of people needing dialysis also have comorbidities like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension that also put them at risk of developing severe Covid-19 or dying from it.”

‘All Hands on Deck’: When Vaccinating Black People Is a Communal Effort

The New York Times

“In Cleveland, Miss., Pam Chatman, a retired television journalist has been dispatching rented minibuses to ferry older residents to vaccination sites far from their rural homes. In nearby Greenville, the Rev. Thomas Morris uses his weekly Zoom sermons to assuage the concerns of vaccine skeptics — and then offers up church volunteers who book appointments for the flip phone set. And in central Alabama, Dr. John B. Waits, who oversees a constellation of nonprofit health clinics serving the poor, has been sending out mobile vaccinators to reach the homebound and the homeless.”

Racism Makes Me Question Everything. I Got the Vaccine Anyway.

The New York Times

“My journey from ‘I don’t even eat hospital pizza’ to ‘voluntary Pfizer guinea pig’ is complicated, but not singular. Existing in America while Black requires a ceaseless assemblage of negotiations and compromises. Even while recognizing the anti-Blackness embedded in society, participation is still necessary to survive.”

Study Shows Pandemic Tied To Spike In Suicide Among Black People


“According to one alarming recent study focusing on just one state during the first weeks of the lockdown, but alarming nonetheless, suicide mortality among African Americans nearly doubled while decreasing substantially among white residents…

…So, basically, this pandemic hit Black Marylanders a lot harder than white Marylanders. So there was reason to believe that there might be more distress, and suicide has traditionally been a marker of distress in our data.”

Cremation Is on the Rise in Black and Latino Communities During COVID-19, Funeral Professionals Say


“The way Black and Latino communities in the U.S. mourn their dead is changing. Burials, a cherished cultural tradition among these groups, have declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, funeral professionals say. Instead, more families of color are choosing cremation, citing economic hardship in a prolonged health crisis.”

Vitamin D study to assess role in protecting Black population from COVID

Chicago Sun Times

“Dr. David Meltzer, chief of hospital medicine at UChicago Medicine and lead researcher of two upcoming studies, said Black people typically have lower levels of vitamin D than whites, though the health consequences are not well known.

Newly published research led by Meltzer found a lower risk of infection, particularly for Black people, when vitamin D levels are increased higher than what experts now deem sufficient for overall health.”

In Palm Beach, Covid-19 vaccines intended for rural Black communities are instead going to wealthy white Floridians


“In Palm Beach County, while Black people make up 18% of residents and Hispanic people 21.7%, these communities had received just 4.1% and 4.7% of vaccines respectively, as of March 1…

…Vaccine events intended for underserved communities became destinations for those accustomed to getting their way, people who know whom to call and how to advocate for themselves. Nearby elders could drive up for their shot, but so could anyone else. They simply had to head west on Route 98.”