Cleveland nurse hoping to educate African-Americans on alarming racial disparities with COVID-19 deaths

Death of cousin to coronavirus inspires nurse to inform African-Americans in Cleveland
Updated: Apr. 8, 2020 at 11:32 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Nurse practitioner LeShelle Henderson knows firsthand about the deadly effects of the coronavirus.

Sadly, those same effects hit close to home. Last month, Henderson lost her cousin, Wansley Wright, from Detroit, to COVID-19.

He was 53 years old. “This is something serious that’s impacting our lives tremendously. It’s much bigger than a lot of people think.”

“Ignorance is causing us to have a rapid increase.”

Henderson’s cousin was one of many African-Americans in Detroit who have died after being diagnosed with the coronavirus. Now she is on a crusade to educate others about the dangers and debunking the misconceptions.

Henderson says, “I’ve heard different things like, 'Oh, I don’t know any other black people who had it, so it’s not for us. It’s for other people. Ignorance is causing us to have a rapid increase.”

The numbers tell a deadly story. Three cities: Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans, all with incredibly high percentages of blacks dying from the virus at rapid rates.

One of the main factors include socioeconomics. “Most African-Americans are at a disadvantage due to having low-income housing, health disparities...the lack of knowledge, the lack of insurance," says Henderson.

Health officials in several major cities are working to track the different races and demographics of people dying in our state, related to Covid-19.

States that are already gathering that date are seeing a much higher population of African-American fatalities.