ABC News To Devote Special Coverage To Racial, Socioeconomic Divides In Coronavirus Pandemic

EXCLUSIVE: ABC News will present three days of special coverage to how the coronavirus has reflected, exposed or exacerbated racial, ethnic and socioeconomic divides.

Starting on Wednesday, the reports, titled Pandemic — A Nation Divided, will appear across all of the network’s platforms. The series is rooted in statistics showing a disproportionate impact of the virus on African Americans and Latinos and other communities. For instance, in New York City, African Americans are twice as likely to die of the virus, according to the network. In Washington, D.C., Latinos have been seven times more likely to be infected than white residents.

Marie Nelson, the senior vice president of integrated content strategy, said that “as the COVID-19 global pandemic became a black, brown and working class epidemic in America, we quickly recognized there was an urgent need to tell more stories from these communities.” She said that the project was started about a week and a half ago and will be the launch of further stories and projects across the network.

Nightline will feature co-anchor Juju Chang in the Bronx, seen as the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., with conversations with residents including a a bus driver grappling with the loss of co-workers and a Latino doctor working to boost testing, as well as Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY); Byron Pitts will report from Jackson, MS, including interviews with an immigrant, detained in ICE raids last year, talks of hazardous conditions in a local meat processing plant; and Deborah Roberts will look at the suburbs of Chicago, where she spotlights one home where family members work as Amazon and a meat-processing plant yet try to limit exposure to the virus.

On World News Tonight with David Muir, chief national correspondent Matt Gutman will travel to the Navajo Nation in the southwest to look at the devastating impact of the pandemic and how they are trying to maintain traditions amid lockdown measures; correspondent Alex Perez reports from Chicago on how the city if grappling with the epidemic and continued gun violence; Adrienne Bankert visits the Bronx and spotlights groups like East Side House Settlement, which helps families with issues like remote learning, food shortages and job insecurity.

Good Morning America will feature senior national correspondent Paula Faris with a report on the role of The Boys and Girls Club in offering child care to essential workers, and multi-platform reporter Rachel Scott interviewing Howard University officials on their offering of free coronavirus tests in hard hit communities at the Capitol.

The View will feature Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as a guest on Thursday, talking about the racial disparity in the coronavirus epidemic.

The ongoing special Pandemic: What You Need to Know will feature Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves; Jonathan Nez, the president of Navajo Nation; Birmingham, AL, Mayor Randall Woodfin; Monica Goldston, CEO of Prince George’s County Schools; and Fawn Weaver, the African American woman owner of a whiskey distillery. The special airs on GMA3: Strahan, Sarah and Keke, and later in the afternoon at 4 PM ET on ABC News Live.

On the network’s streaming channel, ABC News Live Prime, anchor Linsey Davis will look at a Brooklyn neighborhood where a child is mourning the loss of his mother, and now lives with his grandmother yet doesn’t know whether his school will open in the fall. Correspondent Diane Macedo will profile an Illinois and Texas family with mixed immigration status who are trying to discern whether they can be eligible for COVID-19 benefits; Scott will look at the experiences of the wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.; and Roberts will spotlight black leaders who are trying to save their own neighborhoods.

The special coverage also will include content on and GMA Digital, as well as a project of FiveThirtyEight that will include maps of access to tests among different communities.

ABC Audio’s Start Here podcast, hosted by Brad Mielke, will take a look at the intersection of COVID-19 and race, including how the crisis could exacerbate historic inequities. There also will be special editions of the daily radio podcast COVID-19: What You Need to Know, hosted by Aaron Katersky, and on Friday of the radio newsmagazine Perspective, hosted by ABC News Radio anchor Cheri Preston. The network also is offering reports via ABC NewsOne, the affiliate service of ABC News, while some of the ABC O&Os also are doing their own special reports and town halls.

MaryAlice Parks serves as Supervising Producer on Pandemic – A Nation Divided.

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