The numbers are indisputable: Over the past year, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked deadly havoc upon Black communities nationwide and has touched lives close enough that most African Americans know personally of someone who has succumbed to it or are otherwise connected to someone who has.
The most recent proprietary research commissioned by the NAACP reveals that although about half of the Black community in the U.S. has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and is optimistic about a return to normalcy soon, African Americans continue to over-index in the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations, the most severe economic impacts and the number of deaths. And, with evidence of the deadly variant strains now showing a consistent rise – especially among vulnerable, less-vaccinated populations – their concern is more than justified.
As the war against the pandemic in America’s Black communities rages on, the key battlefront in mid-2021 is reliable, up-to-date, trustworthy information enabling the unvaccinated – and those who are wary about vaccinating their younger children – to make the most well-informed decisions. Aggressive government vaccination goals remain elusive and are still far from being met. Some 48 percent of Black Americans surveyed report being worried about the new variants and their potential to fuel a spike in infection rates, while 52 percent fear another increase in cases possibly coming this year and question how to effectively prevent becoming infected, or infecting loved ones.
Through its ongoing national initiative, ‘COVID. KNOW MORE,’ the NAACP, the nation’s largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization, is continuing its work to ensure that Black communities are provided with the most current and credible facts they need to make the best possible choices for their long–term wellbeing. The campaign, launched in May, was created to provide Black Americans with comprehensive, relevant data and resources on COVID-19 tailored specifically to them, with the intent of empowering Black America’s full recovery.
“We are certainly a strong, enduring and resilient people but the data doesn’t lie,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO. “Our research shows that Black Americans are optimistic about getting ahead of the COVID-19 crisis and resuming their daily lives and activities, yet there remains a great deal of work to be done – especially in reaching our young people and men with the information that they need,” he added.
The NAACP’s research further illuminates the facts that:
Regarding continuing to be vigilant and protecting themselves, 54 percent of African Americans say they will continue to wear masks in both public and private settings, while among our valued essential worker corps, 61 percent report that they are likely to don masks all the time. With respect to the news about booster shots possibly being recommended soon for those already vaccinated, NAACP polling results reveal that 87 percent of fully vaccinated Black Americans are likely to take the shot once one is approved and available.
“Every individual has the right to their own choices but it’s obvious from our numbers that the coronavirus hasn’t been defeated. And you can trust that it isn’t finished with America and the world as yet. Black Americans especially need to stay abreast of the most essential information and faithfully adhere to the CDC guidelines if we expect to truly protect ourselves, as well as our friends and families and help all recover,” Johnson said.
The initiative features a multifaceted, user-friendly online information hub housing an array of options designed to help African Americans stay current with the ever-changing data and guidance as they navigate the pandemic, which can be easily accessed by visiting this link.