A black couple from Georgia have died of COVID-19 after refusing to get vaccinated because they didn't trust it - due, in part, to past racist medical experiments in which black men from Tuskegee were denied treatment for syphilis.
Martin, 53, and Trina Daniel, 49, of Savannah succumbed to the virus within three hours of each other. They died on July 6.
The couple, who were married for 22 years, are survived by their two children - a 15-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son.
Funeral services for the couple were held on Saturday. Their deaths were first reported by WSB-TV in Atlanta.
Family members said that the couple was fearful of getting vaccinated because they distrusted the medical establishment in light of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
When Alabama and the rest of the South were still segregated by race, government medical workers starting in 1932 withheld treatment for unsuspecting men infected with syphilis in Tuskegee and surrounding Macon County so physicians could track the disease.
The study, which involved about 600 men, ended in 1972 only after it was revealed by The Associated Press.
Martin, 53, and Trina Daniel, 49, of Savannah, Georgia succumbed to the virus within three hours of each other. They died on July 6
The couple, who were married for 22 years, are survived by their two children - a 15-year-old daughter and an 18-year-old son
The couple refused to get vaccinated due to past racist medical experiments in which black men from Tuskegee were denied treatment for syphilis has died of COVID-19
In 1932 public health researchers enrolled almost 400 black sharecroppers with syphilis in a medical study in Tuskegee, Alabama. For more than 40 years the researchers administered invasive tests while withholding treatment so they could track the effects of the disease. The image above from the 1950s shows a doctor drawing blood from a black man in the syphilis study in Tuskegee, AlabamaInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
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Vaccine hesitancy is highest among black Americans, according to CDC data. The graph above shows blacks are the racial group with the second-lowest rate of first-dose vaccination in the country
The graph above shows the racial breakdown among those who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
A lawsuit filed on behalf of the men by black Tuskegee attorney Fred Gray resulted in a $9million settlement, and then-President Bill Clinton formally apologized on behalf of the US government in 1997.
But the damage left a legacy of distrust that extends far beyond Tuskegee.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for the couple’s two children.
Mistrust of the medical community in the United States is high among African-Americans, according to the latest research.
A May survey showed black people were half as likely to say they'd get the COVID-19 vaccine compared to white participants.
What's more, black participants were 1.5 times more likely to report that they didn't trust the US medical community.
Vaccine hesitancy is more entrenched than among white people even though black Americans have been hit disproportionately hard by the virus.
'Just tying these two events together and understanding the historical context of what's going on...it really wears on me sometimes,' said Cornelius Daniel, Martin's nephew.
'It's imperative that we see the importance of the vaccinations.'
'They were both just lovely people,' Quintella Daniel, Martin and Trina’s niece, told WSAV-TV.
'To know them was to love them. Just as their kids, to know them is to love them as well.'
As of Tuesday, Georgia has reported 924,292 cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. More than 18,600 have died
Georgia is among many states that have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Indian Delta variant
Public health officials in the Peach State reported on Tuesday that the positivity rate for the virus jumped to 13 percent. On Tuesday, health officials said they recorded 1,975 confirmed new cases of COVID-19. Ten people died while 107 were hospitalized
While cases have increased substantially, the death rate has remained low, according the latest data
Quintella remembered the couple as fierce advocates for education who always encouraged their loved ones to strive for more.
'I'm really gonna miss him. I'm gonna miss him my whole life. Him and my aunt Trina, both,' Quintella said.
Quintella, a nurse, has seen her fair share of COVID-19 patients. She said vaccine hesitancy is having devastating consequences for the community.
WHEN AND WHERE?
The syphilis experiment was called the Tuskegee Study.
It began in 1932 in Tuskegee, Alabama, an area which had the highest syphilis rate in the nation at that time.
WHAT WERE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
When the study began, the discovery of penicillin as a cure for syphilis was still 10 years away and the general availability of the drug was 15 years away.
Treatment in the 1930s consisted primarily of doses of arsenic and mercury.
HOW THEY TREATED SOME MEN IN THE TRIAL - AND LEFT OTHERS
Of the 600 original participants in the study, one third showed no signs having syphilis; the others had the disease.
According to PHS data, half the men with syphilis were given the arsenic-mercury treatment, but the other half, about 200 men, received no treatment for syphilis at all.
HOW THEY LURED THEM TO PARTICIPATE
Men were persuaded to participate by promises of:free transportation to and from hospitals free hot lunches free medical treatment for ailments other than syphilis free burial
In 1969, the PHS' Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, which has been in