Young Black Americans are dying at alarming rates, according to recent research data. The life expectancy for Black Americans has fallen sharply since 2020.
According to data released by federal health officials in August 2022, Americans are dying younger across all demographic groups since 2019.
Olympic track star Tori Bowie was laid to rest in Brandon, Mississippi on Saturday. There is still no light shed on her cause of death. Bowie, only 32, was found dead in her Florida home earlier this month.
Last week 18-year-old high school athlete Hunter Palmer died suddenly after collapsing during track practice in Nebraska. Hunter was a physically fit, triple sport athlete at Wisner-Pilger High School. Students and faculty are still in shock over his untimely death.
A new JAMA study published on May 16 found that the mortality rate for young Black Americans was disproportionately higher than other races and accounted for more than 1.63 million excess deaths between 1999 and 2020 relative to white people. Over that time period, the higher death rate for Black Americans resulted in more than 80 million cumulative years of life lost.
More surprisingly the increasing mortality among U.S. children and youth between 2019 and 2021 represents a profound crisis, according to Time magazine. Current survival rates mean that one in 25 American 5-year olds will not reach their 40th birthday!
According to SheKnows.com, the death rate is caused at least in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a disproportionately devastating impact on communities of color. Data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Black people are 1.6 times more likely to die from COVID than white, non-Hispanic people.
“The study is hugely important for about 1.63 million reasons,” Herman Taylor, an author of the study and research director at Morehouse School of Medicine, told NBC News. “Real lives are being lost. Real families are missing parents and grandparents. Babies and their mothers are dying. We have been screaming this message for decades.”
Medical researchers and health experts have sounded the alarm about racial disparities in medical care for many years. Black Americans are less likely to have health insurance than white people.
Activists in California are calling for free health insurance for Black people as part of a reparations package that they say is long overdue.
According to SheKnows, systemic changes are needed in order to close the racial health gap. “That means taking steps to ensure equitable access to healthcare for Black people.”