PORTLAND, Maine (CBS/AP) — The widest racial disparity in the U.S. stemming from the coronavirus pandemic is in Maine, where Black residents are contracting the virus at 20 times the rate of their white neighbors, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald.
Maine has the highest percentage of white residents of any state and it also has a low rate of coronavirus infection, with less than 3,000 cases in total. But the Portland Press Herald reports Black Maine residents, who make up 1.4% of the state’s population, account for nearly a quarter of the state’s coronavirus cases.
The Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition called the disparity “enormous and growing” and told the newspaper the state’s Black community has suffered from compromised access to health services during the pandemic.
“We are making strides and we are attempting to do better in partnership with members of those communities. But … I will be the first to acknowledge that we have more to do there,” the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s director Nirav Shah said recently.
In Massachusetts, the positive test rate for Black and Hispanic residents is about three times higher than the rest of the state. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working to help minority communities in their battle against the coronavirus.
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