WICHITA, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the cases of COVID-19 surpass 11 million in the nation, and the number of deaths approaching 248,000, the nation’s Black communities continue to suffer disproportionately. Health disparities have long plagued African Americans, but now, the worldwide pandemic is laying bare the fact that “underlying" health conditions often mean a death sentence for many.
In Wichita, Kansas the Wichita/Sedgwick County (KS) African American Council of Elders and Black Alliance are utilizing Sedgwick County funding to conduct an extensive outreach education campaign entitled #FACTSNOTFEAR, designed specifically for the Black community.
With COVID–19 cases and hospitalizations surging in Wichita/Sedgwick County, the African American Council of Elders and Black Alliance launched the #FACTSNOTFEAR initiative to inform the community about the necessity to follow recommended health guidelines to protect their families from contracting the coronavirus, and to encourage individuals to make lifestyle changes to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
“Our goal is to raise awareness in the African American community through an integrated communications campaign using social media, traditional media, and virtual events to educate everyone about reducing COVID-19 risk factors while providing personal preparedness and other information that will ultimately help save lives in Wichita and Sedgwick County,” said Elder Frances Jackson of the Council of Elders.
Kansas has one of the nation’s highest COVID-19 positivity rates at 34 percent and African Americans are dying at a rate more than 2.5 times of other ethnic groups in the state. Hospitals in Wichita are reaching capacity and more hospitalizations usually translate into more deaths.
In addition to reinforcing the absolute necessity for everyone to wear a mask and practice social distancing, the Council of Elders outreach initiative will also provide data to the community about diabetes and other preexisting conditions that can lead to serious outcomes if a person contracts COVID–19.
“According to the American Diabetes Association, COVID–19 patients with diabetes have much higher rates of serious complications and death than people without diabetes,” said Elder Jackson. “We have an obligation to raise awareness of how diabetes, high blood pressure, and other preexisting conditions that are prevalent in the Black community can cause adverse COVID–19 consequences.”