COVID and Inequality: An Introduction
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
As cases of COVID-19 continue to expand rapidly across the world, increasing evidence is beginning to amount that the disease disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. According to The Covid Racial Data Tracker and the U.S. Census Bureau, Black individuals die at a rate 2.5 times higher than their white counterparts. In four U.S. states, the rate is over three times greater. But why?
In a correspondence published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, it is mentioned that the “greater prevalence of hypertension, diabetes… coronary heart disease,” and obesity can lead to an increased severity of infection in minority demographics. A 2017 article published in JAMA found that in 2280 Black adults, an increased prevalence of neighborhood segregation was correlated in a statistically significant manner with increases in blood pressure. More research must be done on this topic, but it shows that environmental factors can affect physical attributes in a significant fashion. The 20% of U.S. counties which are disproportionately black have accounted for 52% of COVID-19 diagnoses and 58% of COVID-19 deaths nationally, according to a July 2020 paper in the Annals of Epidemiology.
Additionally, workplace factors are at play. While many of us were afforded the luxury of telework, those deemed essential by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were required to continue working. Blacks are less likely to find themselves in jobs which are more likened to teleworking, like professional and business services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Misinformation and Disinformation
Systemic misinformation has led to Black Americans being less inclined to seek healthcare options. A NPR article elaborates on this well, where Black Americans were under the impression that they were “immune to coronavirus” or that it is a hoax; “there’s a longstanding mistrust that some Black Americans feel toward the public health establishment” due to decades of exploitation and illegal experimentation. Campaigns that combat misinformation and disinformation, like ours, have a documented need. Stopping the permeation of rumors and false information into our society is an integral step to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Inadequate Access to Healthcare
According to the CDC, Blacks are twice as likely to be uninsured compared to a white individual. Hispanics, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, are almost 3 times as likely to be uninsured. Again, residential segregation has created significant disparities in healthcare utilization, where majority African American or Hispanic communities have lower rates of usage than Whites. There is also a lack of hospitals and primary care providers. This article written by the Century Foundation elaborates on these inadequacies very well.
How We Can Help
By spreading valid information and acknowledging existing issues, we are making the first step towards change. We need your help. Ask questions and let us do the research for you. Share our page with people who are unsure of the truth. Together, we can beat misinformation.