Florida Democrats highlight disproportionate impact of coronavirus on black community
TALLAHASSEE, FLA.10/25/17-Sen. Oscar Braynon II, D-Miami Gardens, during the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Lawmakers and advocates discussed the issue during a Thursday evening conference.

Sen. Oscar Braynon II and Rep. Shevrin Jones say minority communities are bearing a disproportionate impact from the novel coronavirus outbreak in Florida.

That message is supported by data from other states as well, as black Americans are making up a lopsided share of deaths from the virus.

“Between the health issues and the fact that we are more susceptible to dying from this than most people, the fact that we’re still out there [working] because we have to be, and also the fact that economically this is actually hurting us probably more than it is hurting other people, I think we really have a tsunami on the horizon,” Braynon said during a Thursday evening virtual news conference.

That meeting was organized by the Florida Democratic Party. Braynon’s assertions are backed up by an Associated Press analysis of the outbreak around the country.

“Louisiana tracked demographic data in 512 deaths and found 70% of victims were black, despite African Americans comprising just 32% of the state’s population,” the report reads.

“In Michigan, more than half of the deaths where race data was collected were black residents; the state’s population is 14% black. Illinois’ population is 17% Hispanic and 14% black yet, as of Monday, 63% of its caseload of more than 9,000 COVID cases with racial data recorded were nonwhite residents, and at least 40% of the state’s 307 victims were black.”

On Wednesday, Rep. Jones called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to add testing sites within black communities throughout the state.

“We need solutions in the black community that go beyond our status quo expectations,” Jones said.

“We can’t expect that what works in one community will work in all, and we need testing sites that are mobile and meet people where they are. This pandemic is shining a greater light on the fact that health care has been unaffordable and inaccessible for too many Americans for decades.”

Thursday’s press call also delved into the issue of gun violence among the black community — and how the coronavirus is affecting the problem.

Braynon pointed to signs of optimism in an otherwise bleak outlook.

“The thing about this pandemic is we’ve had people inside and we’ve had people home. So it’s cut down a little bit on people getting shot,” Braynon said.

“That’s one of the positives that has come out from this.”

But the Senator also said many of the problems in the black community — such as inadequate health care, affordable housing and lack of economic opportunity — can be exacerbated by the virus’s impact and cause additional problems down the line.

“You get frustrated,” Braynon said of members of the black community regarding those systemic issues.

“And when someone does something to you, or you get in a situation that most people would just talk out, you get that anger that lashes out.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


  • DanO

    April 9, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    I have information from the Memphis, TN Police Department that they are experiencing a huge problem with gangs disregarding social distancing and are out every night in large groups late at night and into the early morning hours. I surely do not want to pull out a race issue and I am only saying that the gangs are mostly black teenagers. I wish someone could get the attention of the gangland in all large cities and impact the seriousness of these irresponsible behaviors.

  • martin

    April 9, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    yeah corona be racess….

  • EasterBunny

    April 10, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    The Democrats never miss a chance to cause unrest and dissatisfaction in the black communities.
    While we all know, this is the latest attempt to cause black voters to continue to stay on the Democrat’s plantation, it is a dangerous move that could continue long after the virus is gone.
    The mere assertion that Blacks are more susceptible and die more often from the Covid-19 virus, is intended to put the blame on Trump and the whites in America.
    Unfortunately, the Black community was doing very well under Trump’s economy, now this Chinese caused virus, has changed all that.
    However, while the problem will not last forever, the distrust being sowed by the Democrats, will last a lot longer.

    • gary

      April 10, 2020 at 4:19 pm

      well said, Easter Bunny! Can’t wait for Candice Owens to run for office and wake the black community up!

  • gary

    April 10, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    So typical of demoRATS to take advantage of the black community at time when they need positive leadership. DemoRATS are simply PATHETIC racist vile people!

  • No drama

    April 11, 2020 at 12:06 am

    They should be talking about the disproportionate negative impact that legalized marijuana has on the African American community

    • Sonja Fitch

      April 11, 2020 at 5:43 am

      How many are dead or dying in Florida prisons???desantis and black water ex making a killing on our employees and the black brown prison population! The goptrump racist republicans shall be voted out!!! Recall Desantis. Stupid goptrump puppet

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn