“Early indications are, we’re seeing similar (data) here in Mississippi that it is impacting the African American community at a little higher rate,” said Jim Craig, senior deputy at the Mississippi Department of Health.

A state health official told reporters Monday that Mississippi appears to be following a trend emerging in states across the nation: African Americans are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.

Craig said he did not know why COVID-19 appears to be disproportionately affecting black Mississippians, but said other health officials might be able to shed light on the issue.

Mississippi joins a growing list of state that is seeing relatively high rates of African Americans infected with coronavirus, Illinois, Michigan, and North Carolina.

Gov. Tate Reeves said his administration expects hospitals will be most strained with coronavirus patients on or about April 18.

That’s based on data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Data, which Reeves stressed is fluid.

“Let me be clear. There is no perfect model,” Reeves said, adding that the peak will likely hit sometime in the last two weeks of April. “…We are getting closer and closer to that moment, by the day.”

Reeves said state officials are planning for the worst-case scenario — and then some. A military facility called Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg will be temporarily converted to have 200 beds, he said, and a second 200-bed location in north Mississippi is being planned.