Our entire nation is reeling from the direct effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to OurWorldinData.org, the US has 470,612 confirmed cases, and its death toll continues to soar beyond sixteen thousand.
Consequently, Covid-19 has had severe implications on the nations’ businesses; its impact jolted our economy into a downtrend and is currently increasing the unemployment rate.
It’s no surprise that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the spread of the Coronavirus. In addition to the alarming rate of Blacks being infected and dying due to the virus, Its negative economic implications have dramatically affected and will continue to impact Black-owned businesses.
New data has recently emerged, suggesting that blacks are dying at higher rates compared to other Americans in some major US cities.
African Americans make up barely 13 percent of the American population. But according to the CDC, African Americans account for 33 percent of hospitalized coronavirus patients in the US.
States reporting numbers by race for COVID-19 include Michigan, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana. Louisiana, for example, released data showing that while African-Americans only make up roughly 32% of the population they account for 70% of the deaths in the state.
Many suggest that a common reason for these startling numbers is because of the alarming amount of blacks who suffer from pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. Others allude that the pandemic has only magnified an ongoing unfair representation of Blacks in US’s Healthcare systems.
According to President Donald Trump and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “African Americans are being hit hard by the coronavirus, representing a ‘tremendous challenge’ for the nation.”
However, government-sanctioned relief programs have done an expedient job of keeping specific help and relief plans for African Americans (and other minority groups) menial and insufficient in impact.
Through the Cares (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, Congress allocated $350 billion to the Small Business Administration. With these funds, the SBA will issue loans of up to $10 million per business. In addition, the Cares Act provides $10 billion for emergency grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses to cover operating expenses. These loans become grants if the businesses keep employees on the payroll through June.
Hypothetically, it all sounds good, until we review the data.
Of the nearly 13 percent of Blacks that make up the US population, Black Americans own roughly 2.6 million small businesses, and accounts for only 4 percent of the nation’s small-owned businesses.
Ron Busby, president of the US Black Chambers, concluded that “Of the 2.6 million black-owned businesses, 2.5 million have no employees,” That’s about 96%.
Black business owners who are eligible to benefit from the Cares act anticipate that the additional funds for small-owned businesses will be sent out in preference to other businesses that are not minority-owned, According to Gallup Poll research.
This data highlights the structural issues that often prevent black businesses from participating and benefiting from government sanctioned relief efforts.