Black Communities Have to Deal With Racism Along With Coronavirus

  • AUTHOR: isbah
  • POSTED ON: April 9, 2020

The United States has once again proved that it values racism even during a global crisis. The inequality in the healthcare system is now more clear than ever as a large number of African Americans are more vulnerable to the virus than their white counterparts.

According to reports, more than half of the cases in Chicago including 70% of deaths are those of black residents even though they constitute only about 30 percent of the population.

Those numbers take your breath away, they really do,” Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said in response at a press conference on April 6th. “This is a call-to-action moment for all of us.”

Source: Bet

Black residents who already have chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma say that they are not surprised by the prejudice shown by the government. They have dealt with similar discrimination in the healthcare system long before the virus and the numbers come as a shock only because the pandemic has the potential of affecting all the races.

However, it is quite clear that African Americans would not be receiving the same level of treatment as white citizens and no one in power is ready to address the issue.

“When you look at [COVID-19] that particularly is virulent for persons who have higher rates of disease, that’s exactly the picture of African Americans. But it’s not their genes. It’s the social conditions that we have created,” says, David Williams, a professor of public health at Harvard whose research has examined how race and class affect health. “I hope this is a wake-up call for America.”

In Michigan, a third of all reported cases and 40 percent of deaths are reported to be those of black citizens even though they only make up 14 percent of the entire population. Similarly, in Louisiana, 70 percent of people who were not able to survive the deadly infections were African Americans.

Source: The New York Times

The blatant racism is quite clear in the state of Alabama where an equal number of deaths were reported of both black and white citizens but 69 percent of the population consists of white people while only 27 percent is black.

I have seen in my waiting room mostly black and brown patients who are essential workers and service workers who can’t afford to stay home. These are the ones that I see presenting to the clinic with COVID-19 symptoms,” said Uché Blackstock, a physician in Brooklyn and CEO of the company Advancing Health Equity, in an April 6th press call.

The disparity between the citizens has existed for a long time but would coronavirus finally make people understand the institutional racism that plagues our society or will we go back to worshiping governments that support this and disregard the issues as matters of the past?

Updated April 9, 2020
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