The Racial Divide: How minorities are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in NC

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- We know COVID-19 doesn't discriminate. Anyone can get it.

But we also know this virus is impacting people differently.

"This crisis is magnifying cracks that have long existed in our healthcare system, and we ignore them now at our own risk," Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, has said.

African Americans and Hispanics make up a higher percentage of the state's coronavirus cases than their percentage of the population.

"Health disparities and health inequities did not begin with this pandemic," Dr. Cohen has said. "We must look at ways in which our current health system may be continuing to reproduce these inequalities."

State health data shows us that black North Carolinians are more likely to have a chronic health condition, putting them at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19. Black North Carolinians are also less likely than their white counterparts to have seen a doctor in the last 12 months.

But the disparity doesn't just appear in healthcare. The same story plays out in access to wealth, food, housing and education.

Not to mention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says minority groups are over-represented in jails and prisons, where this virus can spread quickly with deadly results.

We're laying out the problem and offering possible solutions to improve the health of our communities together with our special investigation -- COVID-19 Pandemic: The racial divide.

Minorities, more likely to have jobs that make them 'essential workers,' disproportionately affected by COVID-19

Minorities at a disadvantage when it comes to online schooling in North Carolina

Economic downturns, like the one during the COVID-19 pandemic, hit harder in communities of color

Watch the full special in the media player above.
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