The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Delta At Higher Risk in Pandemic--Message from Medical Doctor on Urgent Need to Get Vaccinated ASAP

Posted on February 10, 2021 at 11:39 AM

People in the Delta must get vaccinated as soon as they can. Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated we need for 75 to 85% of the population to get the vaccine in order to stop the pandemic. We are unfortunately still finding some people who are reluctant to take the vaccine.

With higher percentages of people in higher risk categories, including those with underlying conditions, minorities, and lower income people who may lack access to medical care, the Greater Delta population urgently needs to follow safety guidelines and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Urgent message from Dr. Kevin Stephens, distinguished medical doctor from New Orleans: While this is a risk for everybody, African Americans are at higher risk. We have a statement urging African Americans to get vaccinated from Dr. Kevin Stephens, a distinguished medical doctor, pastor and lawyer from New Orleans who played a vital role in helping people harmed by Hurricane Katrina, the oil spill and other health crises. He is also an African American leader in the Greater Delta Region who has participated at previous Delta Caucus events.

We are all sensitive to the disturbing history of discrimination against African Americans. Dr. Stephens emphasizes that getting vaccinated is “a matter of life or death.”

A report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families stated that black Arkansans are three times more likely to die of the virus than Whites.

For every 100,000 White Arkansans, 2.1 have died a COVID-19 related death; while for every 100,000 black Arkansans, the rate is 7.1.

Regarding the use of Ivermectin against Covid-19, it is possible that the FDA might conduct further clinical trials and conclude that it may have some use in fighting the virus. But they have not approved it yet. The FDA warns against using any medication before it has been approved for use against the virus.


  1. Quick facts from the CDC on the virus and vaccine
  2. Statement from Dr. Kevin Stephens, Sr., MD, JD
  3. Some examples of partners’ experiences with the virus or the vaccine
  4. Statement from FDA warning against the use of Ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19
  5. IN Arkansas, blacks are contracting and dying from the virus at much higher rates than whites

Quick facts from the CDC:

· Vaccines do not contain a live virus and do not carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person.

· The vaccine is safe. Some people have no side-effects, others have some soreness, fatigue and other side-effects that usually wears off after a few days.

· The vast majority of people who get the virus recover, but anyone experiencing symptoms should seek treatment immediately. The newer variants are more contagious and reportedly tend to cause more serious cases. People 65 or older and/or with underlying conditions are at higher risk.

· All the COVID-19 vaccines being used have gone through rigorous studies to ensure they are as safe as possible. Systems that allow CDC to watch for safety issues are in place across the entire country. The vaccines were developed very rapidly due to the dire threat posed by the virus and the massive resources invested in the effort, but rigorous safety standards were adhered to.

· The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines that have been shown to meet rigorous safety criteria and be effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials.


By Dr. Kevin U. Stephens, Sr., MD, JD, New Orleans

Why Should African Americans get vaccinated NOW?

It is a matter of life or death, it is your choice!

According to a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, COVID-19 may shorten Americans’ life expectancy at birth of by a median of 1.13 years, to 77.48 years. This is the largest single-year dip in 40 years. It is also the lowest estimated lifespan since 2003 for Americans.

Before COVID-19, on average, African Americans die 3.5 years younger than Whites and Black Males die 9 years younger than White Females

According to the CDC, the life expectancy at birth for African American is 75.5 with it being 72.2 for African American males in 2015. This is compared to 78.9 for white and 81.3 for white females. There is a 9.1-year difference between Black males and White females.

After COVID-19, on average, African Americans die an additional 2.1 years sooner than whites

The decline for black Americans is estimated to be 2.10 years sooner, at 72.78 years. The decline for whites is projected to be 0.68 years, with a life expectancy of 77.84 years.

It is projected that the gap in life expectancy between black and white Americans could increase from 3.6 to more than 5 years or approximately 40%.

We must act now and get vaccinated!


New data from Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial shows an efficacy rate of 94.1% and that the shot can prevent symptomatic infection, according to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cases of severe COVID-19 occurred only in participants who received the placebo. The high efficacy rate of Moderna’s vaccine nearly matches that of Pfizer’s vaccine which boasts an efficacy rate of 95%.


–COVID-19 spreads very easily from person to person

–COVID-19 most commonly spreads during close contact

· –People who are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person are at greatest risk of infection.

· –When people with COVID-19 cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe they produce respiratory droplets.

· –Infections occur mainly through exposure to respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

· –Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.

–COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission

· Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours.

· This kind of spread is referred to as airborne transmission and is an important way that infections like tuberculosis, measles, and chicken pox are spread.

COVID-19 spreads less commonly through contact with contaminated surfaces

· Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces and objects. It is possible that a person could get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

· Spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads

Protect yourself and others

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. You can take steps to slow the spread.

–· Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

· –Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. This helps reduce the risk of spread both by close contact and by airborne transmission.

· –Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

· –Avoid crowded indoor spaces and ensure indoor spaces are properly ventilated by bringing in outdoor air as much as possible. In general, being outdoors and in spaces with good ventilation reduces the risk of exposure to infectious respiratory droplets. ·

–Stay home and isolate from others when sick.

· –Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and take other steps to stop the spread at home.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that for children born in the U.S. from 1994 to 2013, vaccination will prevent an estimated 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths over the course of their lifetimes.

Some experiences of Delta partners with the virus or the vaccine

Scott Prosterman, Memphis native, consultant, now based in California, said “I had Phase 1 of the Moderna Covid vaccine yesterday morning. Getting Phase 2 in 30 days. I’m a little sluggish & tired, & my left deltoid feels like I got shot with a rubber bullet yesterday. Fortunately I’ve never had that experience, but I’m guessing. So painful, it restricts basic household and occupational tasks and some yoga poses. Wondering if ice would be helpful or counterproductive. After the shot, I ran some errands & food gathering on the way home. Ate a nice brunch & took a nap. Whatever chill I felt, I discerned was from stripping down to my t-shirt for the shot at the outdoor clinic set up in Berkeley. So no fever, but definitely a bit sluggish.”

State Rep. Reginald Murdock, Marianna, said he took the first dose of the vaccine and had minimal side-effects.

Earlier Rep. Murdock had a mild case of Covid-19 and fully recovered.

Caucus Director has applied for the vaccine and is eligible in the Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland, but this area currently has a backlog of several weeks.

Harvey Joe Sanner, Delta Caucus senior adviser from Des Arc, AR, said on Feb. 10 that he had received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. He said he had no side-effects except for a slightly sore arm. He said he was looking forward to taking the second dose.

Sanner said he knows people in east central Arkansas in Prairie, White and Arkansas counties who are using and promoting the use of Invermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19. Sanner and all Delta Caucus partners warn our colleagues in the region NOT to make this ill-advised and un-approved misuse of Invermectin.

FDA Statement Warning Against Use of Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent Covid-19

Q: Should I take ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19?

A: No. While there are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals, it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.

A recently released research articleExternal Link Disclaimer described the effect of ivermectin on SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting. These types of laboratory studies are commonly used at an early stage of drug development. Additional testing is needed to determine whether ivermectin might be appropriate to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19.

Q: Is there an emergency use authorization for ivermectin in the U.S. to prevent or treat coronavirus or COVID-19?

A: No. FDA has created a special emergency program for possible therapies, the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP). It uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible, while at the same time finding out whether they are helpful or harmful. We continue to support clinical trials that are testing new treatments for COVID so that we can gain valuable knowledge about their safety and effectiveness.

Q: What is ivermectin approved for in the U.S.?

A: Ivermectin tablets are approved for use in humans for the treatment of some parasitic worms (intestinal strongyloidiasis and onchocerciasis) and ivermectin topical formulations are approved for human use by prescription only for the treatment of external parasites such as headlice and for skin conditions such as rosacea.

Ivermectin is FDA-approved for use in animals for prevention of heartworm disease in some small animal species, and for treatment of certain internal and external parasites in various animal species.

People should never take animal drugs, as the FDA has only evaluated their safety and effectiveness in the particular species for which they are labeled. Using these products in humans could cause serious harm.

Q: Is there any danger to humans taking ivermectin?

A: There are approved uses for ivermectin in people and animals but it is not approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. You should not take any medicine to treat or prevent COVID-19 unless it has been prescribed to you by your health care provider and acquired from a legitimate source.

Some of the side-effects that may be associated with ivermectin include skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, facial or limb swelling, neurologic adverse events (dizziness, seizures, confusion), sudden drop in blood pressure, severe skin rash potentially requiring hospitalization and liver injury (hepatitis). Laboratory test abnormalities include decrease in white cell count and elevated liver tests.

Any use of ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 should be avoided as its benefits and safety for these purposes have not been established. Data from clinical trials are necessary for us to determine whether ivermectin is safe and effective in treating or preventing COVID-19.

Q: What should I do if the ivermectin products I purchase for use in my animals are not available at my typical retailer? A: Ivermectin is an important part of a parasite control program for certain species and should only be given to animals for approved uses or as prescribed by a veterinarian in compliance with the requirements for extra-label drug use. Due to potentially elevated interest in ivermectin following the new research, some products may not be available. If you are having difficulty locating a particular ivermectin product for your animal(s), the FDA recommends that you consult with your veterinarian.

Q: What is the FDA doing to protect people from fraudulent COVID-19 products? A: We have established a cross-agency task force dedicated to closely monitoring for fraudulent COVID-19 products. We have reached out to major retailers to ask for their help in monitoring online marketplaces for fraudulent COVID-19 products. Products sold are subject to FDA investigation and potential enforcement action if they claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure COVID-19 and have not demonstrated safety and effectiveness for that intended use. The task force has already worked with retailers to remove dozens of these types of product listings online.

The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issue warning letters to companies that violate federal law and pose significant risks to patient health by selling unapproved products with fraudulent claims to treat or prevent COVID-19. View the warning letters for more information.

Report from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families: Blacks Are Contracting and Dying from Covid-19 at much Higher Rates than Whites

According to data compiled by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families:

–Black Arkansans are three times more likely to die of the virus than Whites

For every 100,000 White Arkansans, 2.1 have died a COVID-19 related death;

for every 100,000 Black Arkansans, the rate is 7.1.

African Americans face obstaclessuch as limited access to health care, economic inequality, and other structural inequities that place them at a higher risk from COVID-19.

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families concluded that “Pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses increase the likelihood of contracting and dying from the virus. Also, racism faced in the healthcare system often leads to under-diagnosis and under-treatment for people of color.”

African Americans and Latinos are also much more likely to work “essential” jobs that require their physical presence. This obviously places them at a higher risk than people who can remain isolated in their homes to work.

The Economic Policy Center found that the Latinx community has the lowest proportion of workers who are able to tele-work (16.2 percent, compared to 19.7 percent for Black Americans, 30 percent for White Americans, and 37 percent for Asian Americans).