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Maine has widest coronavirus racial disparity gap in the country

Demonstrators at a rally on Wednesday, June 3, in Portland, Maine. The widest racial disparity in the US stemming from the coronavirus pandemic is in Maine, where Black residents are contracting the virus at 20 times the rate of their white neighbors, according to a report.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The widest racial disparity in the US stemming from the coronavirus pandemic is in Maine, where Black residents are contracting the virus at 20 times the rate of their white neighbors, according to a report in the Portland Press Herald.

Maine has the highest percentage of white residents of any state and it also has a low rate of coronavirus infection, with less than 3,000 cases in total. But the Portland Press Herald reports Black Maine residents, who make up 1.4 percent of the state’s population, account for nearly a quarter of the state’s coronavirus cases.

The Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition called the disparity “enormous and growing” and told the newspaper the state's Black community has suffered from compromised access to health services during the pandemic.


“We are making strides and we are attempting to do better in partnership with members of those communities. But … I will be the first to acknowledge that we have more to do there," the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention's director Nirav Shah said recently.

In other news about the coronavirus pandemic around New England:


The Federal Emergency Management Agency started reducing its emergency financial help to Vermont to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

FEMA regional administrator Captain Russ Webster told Vermont Public Radio that the agency is moving from a response phase to a recovery phase in Vermont.

With that move federal support programs, such as the mass feeding plan, will start to scale back.

“These emergency feeding programs have finite tenures, and they’re designed for the most needy food-injured communities in Vermont,” he said.

FEMA will also stop providing funding in mid-August for the costs of activating of the Vermont National Guard.

State officials told VPR the reduction will not undermine Vermont’s COVID-19 response.




The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is planning more service on subway lines starting Monday.

The MBTA has been running with reduced service due to the pandemic, but will add more as part of the next phase of the state's reopening, The Boston Globe reported. The service increases will apply to dozens of bus lines, as well.

Massachusetts has been hit hard by the pandemic, and has been the site of more than 100,000 cases of the disease.

The MBTA said it plans to closely monitor ridership, and masks will still be required for riders. Social distancing will also be encouraged.



The state's capital city is seeing more use of fireworks by private residents than typical, as the coronavirus pandemic has canceled dozens of planned celebrations.

New Hampshire had more than 100 fireworks shows last year and about a third that many are scheduled this year, the Concord Monitor reported. Most of those have happened already.

The city of Concord is seeing more complaints about fireworks use this year, police chief Brad Osgood said. Purchasing fireworks is relatively easy in New Hampshire. Osgood said exercising safety is important.



The International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum in Newport reopened to the public.

Guided tours are not available and masks are required. The museum is providing masks to people who don't have one.



An additional 40 people tested positive for coronavirus and 9 deaths were reported in Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont said Sunday.

That brings the statewide total cases to more than 45,700 and the number of deaths to 4,260. There were nearly 150 people hospitalized with the virus as of Sunday.


The state is spending $1.2 million to promote its tourism economy. A promotional campaign is expected to begin in the coming days and last through Labor Day.