Celebrities decry coronavirus's outsized impact on US blacks and Latinos

Special featuring Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Snoop Dogg and others to highlight disproportionate impact

Celebrities have highlighted the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people of color in the US, which is especially stark in cities.

Latinos across the US are disproportionately getting sick from coronavirus. In some regions they are infected and hospitalized at up to three times the rate of white Americans, a Guardian analysis found.

In a survey conducted across 14 US states, the CDC recently found that 33% of people who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 were African American, yet they represented only around 13% of the population of those states. According to research from Johns Hopkins University. of 26 states reporting racial data, African Americans account for 34% of Covid-related deaths.

“The facts are sobering, they’re depressing and they’re tragic,” said musician and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs during CNN’s The Color of Covid one-hour special on Saturday night. “African Americans helped to build this country and make this country great. We don’t deserve to be in this position. We don’t deserve to always be thought of last.”

“I want to say to my people: Let’s not wait on nobody to save us. Let’s use this as a reset,” Combs added.

Combs was joined by actor America Ferrera, composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda and rapper Snoop Dogg. Basketball legend Magic Johnson also joined the broadcast, which was hosted by Don Lemon and and political commentator Van Jones.

“If there’s anything I can tell you, we got to do what we’re supposed to do,” Johnson said. “Stay at home, social distancing. You can’t have car parties, you can’t have parties at all, you can’t have gatherings at all. You must stay at home and practice social distancing. This is killing our community, this virus.”

“We need each other now more than ever before,” said Miranda. “Stay home if you can, stay safe.”

Latinos make up a large proportion of the “essential” workforce of grocery store staff, restaurant workers, caretakers, cleaners and delivery workers, and are putting themselves at the frontline of the pandemic. Many are unable to access healthcare systems and unemployment benefits that could bring relief.

Ferrera drew attention to US farmworkers, around 80% of whom identify as Latino, according to Farmworker Justice.

“I want to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart to all,” Ferrera said. “They’re putting their lives and health on the line by planting, picking, and packing the food we all need.”

But, she noted, “farmworkers are reporting that they do not have enough food to feed their own families. Even though the government has deemed them essential workers, they are being denied essential benefits. These frontline workers need our help.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health, said last week that the crisis “is shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is, because yet again, when you have a situation like the coronavirus, [minority communities] are suffering disproportionately.”

Snoop Dogg said he joined the broadcast “to send some words of encouragement to all of my people out there.

“Yo, I want you to have some fun, I want you to make the most of your time at home,” the rapper said. “Spend some time with your loved ones, get in tune with yourself. Go to Instagram, watch some funny stuff, check out some good movies. Keep your spirits up.”


Edward Helmore in New York

The GuardianTramp

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