Local NAACP chapter, NHRMC doctor address COVID-19 racial disparity

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Data around the country shows African-Americans are more likely to see significant impacts of the coronavirus, and the New Hanover County chapter of the NAACP wants to prevent that.

“Without a doubt, the risk in African-American communities is the highest risk in the country,” said New Hanover Regional Medical Center Executive Vice President Dr. Philip Brown. “With that said, that does not have to be our future here.”

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The group held a webinar Wednesday night, allowing the community to have their questions and concerns about coronavirus addressed by Dr. Brown with NHRMC.

Dr. Brown started with the basics.

“When we talk about stopping COVID-19 in our community, what we’re talking about is saving the lives of some of our friends, neighbors, and family,” he said.

President of the New Hanover County chapter of the NAACP, Deboarah Maxwell, says she feels more education is the key to reducing the virus’ impacts.

“A large number in these communities are still not practicing social distancing, no large gatherings, etc.,” Maxwell said.

Dr. Brown also dispelled rumors that the virus was man-made, or that it is killed by heat.

“We don’t have any reason to think that it will [go away in the spring], it was still actively spreading in Australia in the summertime,” he said.

Dr. Brown recommends four precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“If we can educate, if we can all band together and especially do the big four things in terms of physical spacing, hand washing, strict avoidance of gatherings, masks in public, we can change our future in Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina,” he said.

Another concern brought up was how to teach those who aren’t going out of their way to look for information.

“We also need some guidance in who are we missing, and what would be the right medium,” Brown said. “Is it flyers, what kind of community messaging?”

Dr. Brown also recommends utilizing online religious services for the time being.

The New Hanover County NAACP will have another online webinar next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

You can watch that one, and re-watch the full first one, by clicking here.