An 86-year-old Louisiana woman, Antoinette Franklin, and her three sons have died of coronavirus after contracting the deadly respiratory illness. They died within 10 days.
A lifelong New Orleans resident, Franklin died on March 23 and her sons Herman Franklin Jr., 71, Timothy Franklin, 61, and Anthony Franklin Sr., 58, died between March 20 and March 30, according to their obituaries, NBC News reports.
Citing a spokesperson for the New Orleans Coroner’s Office, Jason Melancon, NBC News reported that the brothers and their mother all tested positive for the disease, which has infected more than 1.43 million people and killed over 82,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The cases in the US, CNN reports near 400,000 with at least 12,900 deaths after the country recorded the most new virus deaths in a single day.
“My uncle passed, my grandmother passed, my dad passed, then my other uncle passed,” Anthony Franklin told WDSU. “It’s literally like seven to eight days apart. It’s horrific.”
“I want the world to know if it happened to the Franklin family it could happen to any family,” Jacqueline Franklin, who had two children with Anthony Franklin Sr., told WDSU. “Let’s take this serious. My children have to bury their father, their precious grandmother and their uncles.”
The death of the four members of the African-American family comes at the time a new study by ProPublica revealed that more blacks, especially those in typically black communities are contracting the virus and dying at a very disturbing rate.
The research from ProPublica reports that in Milwaukee county for instance, out of the 945 cases African Americans make up half the numbers. Sadly, blacks also make up 81% of the 27 deaths reported in a county made up of 26% blacks.
These statistics came to bear because Milwaukee is one of the places in the US that has taken pains to track the effect of the virus and includes the racial breakdown of infected people. This throws more light on “the disproportionate destruction it is inflicting on black communities nationwide.”
The report further reveals that Michigan’s state population constitutes 14% blacks and African Americans make up 35% of the cases reported and 40% of deaths as of last Friday.
Detroit has a huge black population and it is regarded at the “hot spot” for COVID-19, recording the highest death toll.
Although Louisiana hasn’t published its coronavirus cases and deaths according to race, 40% of its death rates originated from Orleans Parish which is home to many blacks.
“We know in the U.S. that there are great discrepancies in not only the diagnosis but the treatment that African Americans and other minorities are afforded,” Dr. Ebony Hilton, an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the University of Virginia, told Buzzfeed.
“So, I want to make sure that in this pandemic, that black and brown people are treated in the same way and that these tests are made available in the same pattern as for white people.”
Certain pre-existing conditions make people of color more vulnerable to COVID-19 such as weak immune systems, as a result of having chronic ailments, such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.
It is also only a handful of African Americans who are privileged to get paid sick leave and can afford comprehensive health insurance.