Virus hitting Black community hard in metro Atlanta

WSB-TV is getting real about monkeypox and its impact on minorities.

The disease is hitting the Black community hard, but the good news is that anyone can now get tested for the virus without leaving your car.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington was at a new drive thru monkeypox testing site opened on North Druid Hills Road in DeKalb, where it was busy on Friday afternoon.

The site tests for both the COVID-19 and monkeypox viruses.

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But workers told Washington that around 25% of the people who showed up Friday came for monkeypox testing.

One-by-one, they drove up and got tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, there are more than 16,000 confirmed monkeypox cases nationwide and nearly 1,300 cases right here in Georgia.

Dr. Jayne Morgan, the executive director of the COVID-19 task force at Piedmont Heathcare, said she expects cases to keep climbing.

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“What is happening is exactly what we should have expected to happen, because we saw this occur in COVID, and we certainly saw this occur in HIV as well,” Morgan said.

Morgan said infectious agents generally take hold in populations that have the fewest resources and that are at the most disadvantaged. She said that factor explains why research now shows a growing racial disparity pertaining to new monkeypox cases.

“Here in Georgia we see about 82% of the monkeypox cases have been in Black men,” Morgan said. “It really depends on whether you have health access and what your resources are.”

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Camille Seaton is the first woman in Georgia to have been diagnosed with monkeypox. She said it took about three-and-a-half weeks to recover.

“It’s still all over my body, but the stuff is scarring up and everything,” Seaton said.

She said it’s important to remember that monkeypox doesn’t discriminate, despite the rise of the virus in the Black community.

“Monkeypox does not wait for anyone,” Seaton said. “It does not care who it attacks.”

People at risk for the virus are urged to get vaccinated.

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