COVID-19 Laid Bare America’s Need to Confront Its Racial Health Disparities (Morning Consult)


Morning Consult | Every one of us is feeling the stress of these uncertain times. For Black Americans, the pain of the past several months has been especially devastating. Two viruses have reared their ugly head: COVID-19 and racism — both of which are killing people of color at disproportionate rates. 

Although we may come to this conversation from different backgrounds — as physicians and leaders in the health care community — we both firmly believe that racism is detrimental to health in all its forms and that addressing the systemic devaluing of black lives is a moral imperative. 

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

While COVID-19 itself may not discriminate, Black Americans and other minorities have had to bear the greatest brunt of this pandemic due to generations of racial health disparities and inequities — related to poverty, education, housing, access to transportation, healthy food and health care.

Black Americans were already disproportionately suffering from a higher rate of underlying conditions and chronic illnesses — including diabetes, heart disease, and obesity — all conditions which increase susceptibility to the ravages of COVID-19.

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