People living in Durham neighborhoods that were racially redlined in the early to mid 1900s have a higher COVID-19 risk than people in neighborhoods that weren’t discriminated against, according to a study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
The study found people in these predominantly Black neighborhoods are more likely to have conditions like high blood pressure, asthma and obesity that make the coronavirus more deadly.
Nearly half of the 111 deaths from COVID-19 in Durham County have been among Black people, despite African Americans making up around 37% of the county’s population. Statewide, 29% of deaths have been among Black people, despite African Americans making up around 22% of the state’s population.
Sterling Fulton, evaluation director at the Center for Black Health & Equity, a Durham-based organization, says these disproportionate risks are, at least in part, a consequence of decades-old housing discrimination.