Connect with us

News

As US deaths mount, coronavirus takes outsized toll on minorities | News

Published

on


As many as 215,000 more people than usual died in the United States during the first seven months of 2020, suggesting that the number of lives lost to the coronavirus is significantly higher than the official toll. And half the dead were people of colour – Black Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and, to a marked degree unrecognised until now, Asian Americans.

The new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight a stark disparity: deaths among minorities during the crisis have risen far more than they have among white people.

As of the end of July, the official death toll in the US from COVID-19 was about 150,000. It has since grown to more than 170,000.

But public health authorities have long known that some coronavirus deaths, especially early on, were mistakenly attributed to other causes, and that the crisis may have led indirectly to the loss of many other lives by preventing or discouraging people with other serious ailments from seeking treatment.

Charlton Rhee, whose parents came to the US from South Korea, lost both of them to COVID-19 this spring as the virus surged in New York City [AP Photo/Marshall Ritzel]  

Disproportionate burden

A count of deaths from all causes during the seven-month period yields what experts believe is a fuller – and more alarming – picture of the disaster and its racial dimensions.

People of colour make up just under 40 percent of the US population but accounted for approximately 52 percent of all the “excess deaths” above normal through July, according to an analysis by The Associated Press and The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organisation covering the criminal justice system.

“The toll of the pandemic shows just how pervasive structural racism is,” said Olugbenga Ajilore, senior economist at the Center for American Progress, a public policy organisation in Washington.

Earlier data on cases, hospitalisations and deaths revealed an especially heavy toll on Black, Hispanic and Native Americans, a disparity attributed to unequal access to healthcare and economic opportunities. But the increases in total deaths by race were not reported until now; nor was the disproportionate burden on Asian Americans.

With this new data, Asian Americans join Black Americans and Hispanics among the hardest-hit communities, with deaths in each group up at least 30 percent this year compared with the average over the last five years, the analysis found. Deaths among Native Americans rose more than 20 percent, though that is probably a severe undercount because of a lack of data. Deaths among whites were up 9 percent.

The toll on Asian Americans has received far less attention, perhaps in part because the numbers who have died – about 14,000 more than normal this year – have been far lower than among several other groups. Still, the 35 percent increase in Asian American deaths is the second highest, behind Hispanic Americans.

In an average year, somewhere around 1.7 million people die in the United States between January and the end of July. This year the figure was about 1.9 million, according to the CDC.

Of the possible 215,000 additional deaths above normal through July – a total that has since risen to as many as 235,000 – most were officially attributed to coronavirus infections. The rest were blamed on other causes, including heart disease, high blood pressure and other types of respiratory diseases.

The CDC has not yet provided a breakdown by race and ethnicity of the deaths from other causes. The newly released data is considered provisional and subject to change as more information comes in. Certain categories of deaths – suicides or drug overdoses, for example – often involve lengthy investigations before a cause is assigned.

The outbreak’s disproportionate effect on communities of colour is not limited to a specific region of the country.

The virus first hit urban areas on the east and west coasts. But according to University of Minnesota researcher Carrie Henning-Smith, disparities have also been seen as the disease spread across the country to southern and western states with large rural populations.

For example, Arizona reported almost 60 percent more Native American deaths so far this year compared with previous years, and New Mexico recorded at least 40 percent more. Between the two states, at least 1,100 more Native Americans have died than normal.

Asian Americans have ‘suffered greatly’

Another surprise: Only about half of the Asian American deaths have been officially linked to COVID-19, lower than for all other groups. Jarvis Chen, a lecturer at Harvard University’s public health school, said Asian Americans may not be getting tested at the same rate as other groups, for reasons that are unclear, and that could result in some virus deaths being attributed to something else.

Native American Activists Celebrate Decision To Mark Columbus Day In LA County As Indigenous Peoples Day Starting 2019

Arizona reported almost 60 percent more Native American deaths so far this year compared with previous years, and New Mexico recorded at least 40 percent more [File: David McNew/Getty Images]

Dr Namratha Kandula of Northwestern University echoed that theory. She also cautioned against generalising about the underlying health of Asian Americans as a whole, noting that they are a diverse group from many different nations and cultures.

“It’s not enough to clump them all together because it does not tell the whole story,” she said.

Charlton Rhee, whose parents came to the US from South Korea, lost both of them to COVID-19 this spring as the virus surged in New York City.

His mother, Eulja Rhee, went out one day, and when she returned, “she told me someone had coughed in her face” as she was getting off a bus, said Rhee, a nursing home administrator in Queens. “She was wearing a mask, but it got into her eyes.”

She died in hospital, just shy of her 75th birthday.

Rhee found out a day later that his father, Man Joon Rhee, had tested positive. “He had caught it from my mother,” he said. “His heart was broken. And he said to me that he wanted to know if it was OK to be with Mom.”

He stayed home, receiving hospice care, and died at 83.

“The Asian American community has suffered greatly during this,” and government officials provided little help, especially initially, Rhee said. Community associations had to step in with food drives, personal protective equipment and other help.

Income, housing and health inequality

Racial disparities in deaths predate COVID-19, and many forces combine to produce them.

Some communities of colour are more likely to have lower incomes and to share living spaces with larger families, increasing the risk of transmission. They have higher rates of health problems, including diabetes, obesity and lung ailments, the result of living in places where healthier foods are harder to get and the environment is polluted. Those same factors can make them more likely to become severely ill or die from the coronavirus.

They are more often uninsured and tend to live farther from hospitals. They are disproportionately incarcerated, which has been linked to long-term effects on health.

Experts point to a long history of discrimination that causes distrust of the healthcare system. And people of colour are more likely to fill essential roles that require them to keep going to work during the pandemic.

Dr Sobiya Ansari, who works predominantly with Black immigrant cancer patients in New York City, worries when they miss or postpone radiation or screenings. Already, the city has seen double the number of Black deaths this year compared with previous years.

“If a storm hits and you’re safe inside your house, you’re safe,” she said. “Then there is a population of people that don’t even have umbrellas. The storm hits and they’re just really swept away.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

News

FDC activists win Bank of Uganda pig case by simply keeping quiet

Published

on

By


FDC activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja

Buganda Road Magistrate’s court has acquitted two opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) activists Augustine Ojobile and Robert Mayanja of common nuisance charges.

FDC deputy chief administrative officer Ojobile and Mayanja have been acquitted by the grade one magistrate Fidelis Otwao on charges stemming from their protest held in November 2018 when they carried pig heads to the central police station (CPS) in Kampala protesting the rot in the Bank of Uganda that had reportedly resulted into the closure of a number of commercial banks in the country for many years.


According to them, corruption at the Central bank had been the sole ingredient for the closure of commercial banks in Uganda over the years because it reportedly mismanaged them and made erroneous decisions that led to their closure.

With fresh pig heads tied around their necks and stinking blood oozing across their white T-shirts, Mayanja and Ojobile walked through the streets of Kampala to the police in a protest that was spearheaded by their pressure group known as the Jobless Youth.

One pig head had a placard bearing the name of the former and late BOU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and the other of his former deputy Louis Kasekende.

The protest at CPS came a few days after another that was staged at the Central bank where two piglets were dumped bearing the name of Juma Kisaame (a Muslim), the former managing director of DFCU bank. 

As a result, the duo was arrested and taken to Buganda Road court on charges of common nuisance and the prosecution adduced evidence from five witnesses who included police officers and Muslims who were reportedly angered by the protest.

According to the witnesses, the actions of Mayanja and Ojobile were annoying to the people whose names were mentioned and tagged on pig heads, and the smell that was coming out of the fresh pig heads was most likely to result in injury to a considerable number of the public by affecting their health, and the protest affected businesses since some shops allegedly had to close to see what was happening outside due to their commotion.

But when Mayanja and Ojobile were asked to defend themselves over the allegations, the duo that didn’t have legal representation chose to keep quiet as their defense and let the court make its decision based on what the prosecution witnesses had testified to.

In a judgement read today Friday by Otwao, he indicated that the evidence from the prosecution witnesses is wanting because none of the people alleged to have been annoyed by the actions of the activists testified in the case or recorded a statement with police.

According to Otwao, the testimonies were based on what the witnesses were feeling as individuals and that there were no abusive statements on the pig heads that the prosecution had indicated which would cause annoyance, save for putting the names of people only. 

As such, the court has ruled that such testimonies cannot be relied on to convict a person because the prosecution has failed to prove that there was common injury, danger to the public or destruction of property.

Consequently, the magistrate has acquitted the duo and directed that each of them starts the process to seek a refund of the Shs 500,000 that each had paid to be released on bail.

The activists have welcomed the ruling saying that the court has recognized that the citizens have a right to protest peacefully.

The pig protests have been commonly used by activists who subscribe to this group known as the Jobless Brotherhood which has since rebranded to the “Alternative”.

In 2016, their members including Luta Ferdinand who is now facing trial in the court-martial on different charges, and Joseph Lukwago were arrested for dumping piglets at parliament protesting the Shs 200 million given to each MP for buying personal cars.



Source – observer.ug

Continue Reading

News

Saudi Arabia executes 81 people in a single day | Death Penalty News

Published

on

By


The death penalty applied for a range of charges in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom’s modern history.

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men over the past 24 hours, including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national, on charges including “allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations” and holding “deviant beliefs”, state news agency Saudi Press Agency said, in the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

The number dwarfed the 67 executions reported in the kingdom in 2021 and the 27 in 2020.

“These individuals … were convicted of various crimes including murdering innocent men, women and children,” SPA said on Saturday, citing a statement from the interior ministry.

“Crimes committed by these individuals also include pledging allegiance to foreign terrorist organisations, such as ISIS [ISIL], al-Qaeda and the Houthis,” it added.

Some travelled to conflict zones to join “terrorist organisations”, according to the SPA.

“The accused were provided with the right to an attorney and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process,” it said.

“The kingdom will continue to take a strict and unwavering stance against terrorism and extremist ideologies that threaten the stability of the entire world,” the report added.

The men included 37 Saudi nationals who were found guilty in a single case for attempting to assassinate security officers and targeting police stations and convoys, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s last mass execution was in January 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people, including a prominent opposition Shia leader who had rallied demonstrations in the kingdom.

In 2019, the kingdom beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shia, in a mass execution across the country for alleged “terrorism”-related crimes.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights records have been under increasing scrutiny from rights groups and Western allies since the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

It has faced strong criticism of its restrictive laws on political and religious expression, and the implementation of the death penalty, including for defendants arrested when they were minors.

Saudi Arabia denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security according to its laws.

SPA said the accused were provided with the right to a lawyer and were guaranteed their full rights under Saudi law during the judicial process.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

Continue Reading

News

Nigerian student in Ukraine: 'Mummy we keep hearing bombs'

Published

on

By



Hauwa’s son Suleiman is a Nigerian student in Sumy – she says the family are fearful and anxious.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

Continue Reading

Trending