ABC Columbia recently covered the disproportionate death rates of African Americans due to COVID-19 using IMPH’s data brief and interviewed Executive Director, Maya Pack:

On Thursday, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) released a data brief with the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) that examines the disproportionate death rates of African Americans due to COVID-19.
The pandemic has unveiled inequities in communities throughout the country.

“Even though Black people comprise 27% of the state’s population, they’re comprising 45% of the deaths. And so when you think about that, there’s a huge disparity between the Black and white experience in our state and across the nation when it comes to the pandemic,” said Maya Pack, Executive Director of IMPH.

The data brief shows the disparities amongst the state’s regions.

“When we looked at the regional data, we see that the theme of a disparate impact on the Black population is pervasive throughout the state. But we do see slight differences in how severe the inequities are,” said Pack.
The Pee Dee region has been the most severe.

“In the Pee Dee, the Black population has a rate of death due to COVID that’s 2.4 times the rate of the white community. And so, we see across our state this theme occurring,” said Pack.
Knowing this information can help direct resources to prevent the virus. As the numbers of positive cases continue to rise, so do the death rates.

“It could help local communities decide how they should approach addressing vulnerable populations during this crisis, and where to pinpoint additional testing opportunities,” said Pack. “These numbers are all going to change over time, and we’ll be continuing to do reporting and data analysis on all of it.”

Watch the full interview by Maria Szatkowski here.