Fact Check: Black People Are NOT Immune To The Dangers Of Coronavirus

Fact Check

  • by: Jessica Ravitz
Fact Check: Black People Are NOT Immune To The Dangers Of Coronavirus Hoax!

Are black people more resistant to COVID-19 and not susceptible to death from the virus? No, that's not true: News reports and social media posts from those who've contracted the virus, not to mention official documentation gathered by the World Health Organization's regional office for Africa and words from trusted doctors, show that all human beings -- no matter their race -- are at risk during this pandemic.

A conspiracy theory of unknown origin claims black people are safe from the virus. One example of where it appeared is in an Instagram post (archived here) published by a preacher named Leo Dunson on March 22, 2020. It was a video that included these words in the background:


Here's how the post appeared on social media:

View this post on Instagram

Black People Can't Die and are mostly resistant to the coronavirus. Trump announced a day after I made this statement that he wants to use malaria drugs as treatment for the coronavirus. These malaria drugs were made from the DNA OF BLACK PEOPLE, who became resistant to malaria because of "Sickle-Cell Disease." Therefore as I've already mentioned we are the cure to coronavirus, We can't die from it and are mostly resistant. Obviously there will be exceptions to this but mostly my premise remains true. The deep state knows that these drugs President Trump recommended himself will work, but they do not want to use them because they are interested in creating chaos, then coming with their solution in the end. I have now given the Biblical proof (which was all I needed) and given you scientific proof. Please watch the full video on YouTube i have listed sources as well. . . . . . #blackconsciousness #MalcolmX #MLK #HipHop #Blexit #Trump #Government #Politics #yanggang #RepublicanParty #DemocratParty #Progressives #shaderoom #Exodus #Freedom #WorldStarhiphop #Bossip #FoxNews #CNN #Music #America #TheRoot #Dancing #TrueIsrael #UBI #Rap #BlackAmerica

A post shared by Leo Dunson (@leodunson) on

There are a plenty of stories that have come out in recent days that clearly dispute such claims.

Actor Idris Elba and his wife, model and actress Sabrina Dhowre Elba, both tested positive for the virus. So have a number of NBA players, including Kevin Durant, Marcus Smart and Rudy Gobert. And a beloved NBC News employee, Larry Edgeworth, died on March 19, 2020, after he tested positive for COVID-19. All of them are or were black.

The World Health Organization's regional office for Africa has issued information about the growing pandemic on that continent. According to a March 19, 2020, report:

More than 600 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in 34 countries in Africa as of 19 March, compared with 147 cases one week ago. Although the region has seen a significant increase in confirmed cases recently, there are still fewer cases than in other parts of the world. "The rapid evolution of COVID-19 in Africa is deeply worrisome and a clear signal for action," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa.

To get further perspective, Lead Stories reached out to Dr. Oliver Brooks, who is the president of the National Medical Association, the nation's oldest and largest organization representing African-American physicians and their patients, including those with pre-existing medical conditions. Here's what he had to say about this bogus claim suggesting blacks need not worry about this pandemic:

There's clear evidence [it] can affect blacks. In fact, as a physician and president of the National Medical Association, I'm even more concerned about the black community because the virus tends to be more lethal to those that have underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease. So, not only can blacks get COVID-19, but if they get it there's potential for them to have a worse case or worse outcome.

Brooks shot down another claim made in Leo Dunson's post, in which Dunson referenced President Donald Trump's promotion of malaria drugs for treatment. Dunson said, "These malaria drugs were made from the DNA OF BLACK PEOPLE, who became resistant to malaria because of 'Sickle-Cell Disease.'"

While sickle cell "does protect you against malaria," the idea that DNA had anything to do with antimalarial drugs is "totally and absolutely false," Brooks said. "Chloroquine is not made from DNA. It's a chemical compound, not a biologic."

Idris Elba, too, has pushed back on false claims being perpetuated about the lack of danger to the black community. He did this in a Twitter Live video, five days before Dunson promoted the lie.

Here's some of Elba's plea:

Please stop sending the conspiracy theory nonsense about black people not being able to get coronavirus, or COVID-19. It's dumb, it's silly, it's very dangerous. ... People need to know the facts, need to understand the truth, so that they can protect themselves.

This is how the video appeared on Twitter:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Jessica Ravitz

Jessica Ravitz, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is a former senior writer at CNN Digital. For more than a decade, she wrote longform narratives and profiles on topics ranging from gun violence, sexual assault and suicide to women’s health, spirituality and race.


Read more about or contact Jessica Ravitz

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