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Coronavirus Crisis: Systemic Racism Makes Black & Brown People More Susceptible to Illness

You don’t need to live in a major metropolitan city to see how the coronavirus is selecting its victims. Images show the reality of those than can afford to shelter-in-place and those that continue to go to work because they don’t have any other choice. Early COVID-19 statistics show that the community most at risk of contracting the disease and dying it from it is the black and brown community. 

The U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said yesterday on CBS “This Morning” that minorities, especially the black community, are more susceptible to the coronavirus because of pre-existing health issues. 

“I’ve shared myself personally that I have high blood pressure,” Gen. Adams said. “That I have heart disease and spent a week in the (intensive care unit) due to a heart condition. That I actually have asthma and I’m pre-diabetic, and so I represent that legacy of growing up poor and black in America. I and many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID. It’s why we need everyone to do their part to slow the spread.”

CNN reports that some of the areas hardest hit include  Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey, where a majority of the population is black, and the numbers there are quite strikingIn Chicago, 72 percent of coronavirus victims that have died are black, in Louisiana, it is 70 percent, in Michigan, it is 40 percent. The same is the case in Boston, where officials there say they are seeing a surge in cases among Black and Latino communities.

However, it is essential to note that the coronavirus is hitting these communities harder, not because their DNA is different than other groups. It is because of socioeconomic discrepancies in our country, including a failing health care system, low-paying jobs, and racial injustice.

This is a vulnerable community and information is sometimes difficult to share and get to these individuals,” Manny Lopes, president, and chief executive of the neighborhood health center in Boston, said in an interview with the Boston Globe. “It’s a large immigrant community that is always afraid in the environment they live in today, even before the virus.”

As we reported late last week, Latino farmworkers continue to work without protective gear in California. In New York, the minority population continues to jam the subways as they also go to work, and it’s like that in the rest of the country. They are not irresponsible. They are going to work when millions are either out of a job or have the luxury of staying at home. It’s a no-win situation.