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Why is the incidence of Covid19 higher among African Americans?

Erin Chamerlik with guest Stephanie Gaines Bryant.

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Erin Chamerlik, with guest Stephanie Gaines Bryant.

Today we talk about COVID-19 crisis in the African American community.

Persons who are African American or black are contracting SARS-CoV-2 at higher rates. What are some issues in this community that need to be addressed?

Erin’s book, The Reclaim Diet, gives you a Four-Step, Real Food Plan for Weight Loss and Vibrant Health.

Stephanie Gaines-Bryant

  • Her mission is to tackle the obesity epidemic among women, especially African American women. 
  • Stephanie has been a radio news anchor for 30 years. 
  • Currently anchors weekend news for WTOP Radio and produces one minute health reports for the station. 
  • Stephanie is the owner of Radio Yogi Health & Fitness, a yoga studio in Bowie, Maryland. 
  • She hosts The Sisters4Fitness Wellness Show on Bowie Community Television. 
  • The show is the media arm of her nonprofit, Sisters4Fitness.

Erin’s book, The Reclaim Diet, gives you a Four-Step, Real Food Plan for Weight Loss and Vibrant Health.

Visit: for more information on Vitamin D.

Studies regarding Vitamin D

So far there are no reports on the vitamin D status among affected persons. A large number of well-established data showed antiviral effects of vitamin D. Vitamin D can interfere directly with viral replication. Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory and can modulate the immune system.

To me, these facts make Vitamin D beneficial in our battle with SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Vitamin D has a protective effect associated with pneumonia.

(see, “COVID-19 and vitamin D-Is there a link and an opportunity for intervention?”

Studies support the use of Vitamin D for the immune system and in fighting viral infections.

Vitamin D status and health effects for the African American population.

Many people lack Vitamin D — even in the Sunshine State (Orlando Sentinel article May 3, 2018). While Floridians have ample opportunities to seek sunlight, most of them spend the majority of their daylight hours inside. When people are outside, sunblock, protective clothing and hats block the sun. Age plays a role, too. The older a person, the more sun exposure is needed to reach vitamin D levels. A 2012 study on the effects of sunlight and UV rays from Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain found that middle-aged adults have only 66 percent of the vitamin D-production potential of children and as people get even older, absorption of vitamin D gets even harder. That study found that up to two hours of direct sun exposure a day is necessary in winter to absorb enough vitamin D, while just 30 minutes or less is needed in summer months. The researchers said part of this has to do with clothing covering more skin in the winter — but the sun’s intensity also comes into play.

“Growing scientific evidence has implicated vitamin D deficiency in a multitude of chronic conditions, including type I diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and several common deadly cancers, among others. With the growing prevalence of vitamin D deficiency across the United States and its association with these leading causes of mortality, it has become more important than ever to delineate vitamin D’s role in the pathogenesis of these diseases and use data to pinpoint established risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.” Study.

Studies regarding Vitamin D and cancer.

Studies regarding Vitamin D and diabetes.

This study supported that low serum levels of 25(OH) vitamin D increased the risk of prediabetes. In addition, vitamin D supplementation improves impaired glucose tolerance in prediabetes.

Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes of Adult Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19 – Georgia, March 2020. Link to Study.

  • 61.6% were aged <65 years, 50.5% were female, and
  • 83.2% with known race/ethnicity were non-Hispanic black (black).
  • 26.2% did not have conditions thought to put them at higher risk for severe disease, including being aged ≥65 years.
  • The proportion of hospitalized patients who were black was higher than expected based on overall hospital admissions.
  • In an adjusted time-to-event analysis, black patients were not more likely than were nonblack patients to receive invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) or to die during hospitalization (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.63; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.35-1.13).
  • Given the overrepresentation of black patients within this hospitalized cohort, it is important for public health officials to ensure that prevention activities prioritize communities and racial/ethnic groups most affected by COVID-19.
  • Clinicians and public officials should be aware that all adults, regardless of underlying conditions or age, are at risk for serious illness from COVID-19.