Wes Nakagiri

Livingston County Commissioner, District 3

covid african americans 1200Wx630HAfrican-Americans fare worse in Michigan when it comes to COVID. However, this disparity is far greater in blue counties than in red counties. 

On April 9, 2020, the Detroit Free Press reported that Governor Whitmer created a task force to look at racial disparities in COVID cases and deaths.

The Free Press stated, “The alarming disparities in how the coronavirus has impacted the African American community is worth further study and action, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday.”

The Governor’s statement is supported by the data and analysis presented in this report. This report clearly shows the African-American community has been disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic.

While the reasons for this disparity are yet to be uncovered, these findings suggest that one should not rule out public policy as a contributing factor.

All too often societal elites and left-leaning news reporters gloss over public policy as a potential contributor to racial inequity, such as the type observed with the COVID pandemic. That is not the case here as this analysis tackles this subject head-on.

This analysis was specifically performed to answer the question:

Does the data indicate there are differences between “red” and “blue” counties with respect to African-American COVID rates?

In the State of Michigan there are 8 blue counties and 1 blue city, vs. 75 red counties. For this analysis Marquette County, a blue county, was excluded. This county was excluded because it was the only blue county that did not publish COVID cases by race. All other blue counties published COVID cases by race. (Given its small size, excluding this county would likely have an insignificant impact on this analysis. The total population of Marquette County is 66,516, with 51 total confirmed COVID cases.)

Detroit is the only city included along with the counties. This is because Detroit reports its COVID data separately from Wayne County.

Blue entities are defined as counties/city voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. Red entities are defined as counties voting for President Trump.

 

The data indicates that African-Americans fare worse in Blue Counties 

When making this comparison, African-American COVID rates for red counties were calculated by subtracting the African-American COVID cases from “blue” counties/city from the statewide African-American COVID cases. This calculation was required because the State of Michigan does not publish this data for every county. The author has requested a county-by-county breakdown but has been denied by the State of Michigan. Links to all data sources have been provided below.

The tabular summary compares COVID rates for African-Americans versus the remainder of the population.

covid table black stats
Both red counties and blue counties show the same trend, African-Americans have a higher proportion of the COVID cases than their proportion of the population. This difference certainly merits investigation.

However, upon closer examination, one sees this disparity is far greater in blue counties. The disparity is 18.2 percentage points higher in blue counties (42.0 vs 23.8), whereas in red counties it is 4.7 percentage points higher (10.8 vs. 6.1). This is not an insubstantial difference.

It is hoped that the Whitmer Administration fully examines all of the data, including the differences between "red" and "blue." The typical reflexive response of Democrat politicians and their media allies would assign differences to racism. If they do that, in this case, it would suggest that her Administration should place a priority on stamping out racism in Democrat-controlled jurisdictions.

 


DATA SOURCES AND METHODOLOGY

Total COVID Cases by County

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163_98173---,00.html

% COVID Cases by Race – for Entire State, Not broken down by county

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163_98173---,00.html

32% of all cases are African-American
68% of all cases are not African-American

Population Statistics

Population for each Michigan County, Estimates from US Census July 1, 2018 (V2018)
https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/MI

Population: % African-American in each Michigan County
https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/united-states/quick-facts/michigan/black-population-percentage#table

% COVID Cases by race for specific counties

These statistics were obtained from each individual “blue” county’s website. A blue county is defined as a county that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential Election. Note: Marquette County (a blue county) does not publish % COVID cases by race.

Also, Wayne County statistics exclude the City of Detroit. The City of Detroit publishes its statistics separately.

Detroit City: https://codtableau.detroitmi.gov/t/DHD/views/NEWDASHBOARDPublicCOVIDTableau/COVID-19CityofDetroit?%3AisGuestRedirectFromVizportal=y&%3Aembed=y

Genesee County: https://gchd.us/coronavirus/

Ingham County: https://ichd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/4b78fcb1f2af4967be485a815159dfce

Kalamazoo County: https://www.kalcounty.com/hcs/datahub/COVID19.php

Marquette County: https://www.co.marquette.mi.us/departments/health_department/COVID19_information_and_resources.php#.XrlvpGhKhPY

Muskegon County: https://www.co.muskegon.mi.us/1611/Coronavirus

Oakland County: https://www.oakgov.com/COVID/dashboard.html

Washtenaw County: https://www.washtenaw.org/3108/Cases

Wayne County: http://wayne.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/d04fff4645b140319fad972eb3740550

Analysis and Methodology

This analysis was performed to answer this question:

Are there differences between “red” and “blue” counties with respect to African-American COVID rates?

In the State of Michigan there are 8 blue counties and 1 blue city, vs. 75 red counties. For this analysis Marquette County, a blue county, was excluded. This county was excluded because it did not publish COVID cases by race. All other blue counties published COVID cases by race. (Given its small size, excluding this county would likely have an insignificant impact on this analysis. The total population of Marquette County is 66,516, with 51 total confirmed COVID cases.)

African-American COVID rates for red counties were calculated by subtracting the African-American COVID rates from “blue” counties/city from the statewide African-American COVID rates.

This calculation was required because the State of Michigan does not publish this data, broken down by race for each county. The author's request for this information has been denied by State of Michigan health officials.