Surgeon General: I And Many Black Americans Are At Higher Risk Of COVID-19

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - MARCH 09, 2020: Dr. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States speaks at the Coronavirus Task Force Press Conference.
Dr. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States, speaks at the Coronavirus Task Force press conference on March 9, 2020. (Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
April 7, 2020 11:33 a.m.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CBS News Tuesday morning that African-Americans are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

After agreeing that the CDC and the federal government should be tracking the impact of the coronavirus within different demographic groups, Adams said that his office had been discussing health equity prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

“But my office, long before COVID-19, has been talking about health equity, has been talking about the need to help people understand when they’re at risk and to actually intervene,” Adams said.

Adams went on to explain why African-Americans are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.

“When you look at being black in America, number one: people unfortunately are more likely to be of low socioeconomic status, which makes it harder to social distance,” Adams said. “Number two: we know that blacks are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease.”

Adams added he has personally shared having high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma and being pre-diabetic.

“So I represent that legacy of growing up poor and black in America, and I and many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID,” Adams said. “It’s why we need everyone to do their part to slow the spread.”

When asked about 70% of COVID-19 fatalities in Louisiana being people of color and African-Americans, Adams said that it “breaks my heart” and that he recommends that people understand that they’re at risk and not immune.

“And my recommendation is to all of America that we’re really doing this not just ourselves but each other,” Adams said, referring to social distancing guidelines.

On Sunday, Adams anticipated that the projected rise in COVID-19 cases next week will be “our Pearl Harbor moment” and “our 9/11 moment.”

Watch Adams’ remarks below:

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