ElyaDatabase ID Number: M172
Creator: Christina Inya ’21 Public Health
This map demonstrates one of the commonalities between the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the 1918 Spanish Flu, in how the infection rates disproportionately targeted the Black communities living in America. It is especially interesting to note how during the 1918 Spanish flu, the top six most densely populated regions of African-American populations were in the Southern states of Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. In comparison, we can notice a shift in where the current top six most densely populated regions of African-Americans are living: New York City, Chicago, the District of Columbia, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco. While there are still large populations of African-Americans inhabiting the Southern region of the United States, a large shift to the North and to bigger cities is apparent. As I discuss in my paper, more densely populated areas are prone to much higher rates of infection due to closer contact with potentially infected persons. For Black communities, this also means a decrease in access to medical facilities due to segregation and redlining, contributing to this community’s poor health outcomes during the aforementioned pandemics. Overall, the exact number of African-Americans who suffered with the 1918 Spanish Flu across the country is unclear. The lack of accurate data collection during the public health crisis and the possibility that African American influenza cases may have been underreported because of inadequate access to medical care make it difficult to conclude definitively whether the incidence of influenza was lower in African Americans during the epidemic (Gamble). However, in 1918 the belief that influenza took a lesser toll on African Americans was widespread and strongly held (Gamble). On the other hand, as of November 10th, 2020, an estimated 11,430,000 African Americans have lost their lives due to the 2020 COVID-19 virus thus far (APM Research Lab). Even with mortality rates adjusted for age distribution, Black, Indigenous and Latino Americans all have a COVID-19 death rate of triple or more White Americans, who experience the lowest age-adjusted rates (APM Research Lab).
Cite This Work :
Christina Inya, “An Analysis of the 1918 Spanish Flu, the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Lasting Effects of Racial Disparities in the African Diaspora Exposed Through These Pandemics.” Scale: 1:70,000. In Elya J. Zhang, ed., Mapping History Series. <https://elyadatabase.com/2022/06/12/an-analysis-of-the-1918-spanish-flu-the-2020-covid-19-pandemic-and-the-lasting-effects-of-racial-disparities-in-the-african-diaspora-exposed-through-these-pandemics/> (accessed May 27, 2022).
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