Covid-19 pandemic underscores racial health disparities in US
A US advisory panel warned Friday that the coronavirus pandemic has underscored racial health disparities in the US and has amplified health and economic hardship for African Americans and other minorities.
The panel recommended health care workers, first responders and low-income minority groups get first priority when vaccine supplies are limited.
“Inequity has been a hallmark of this pandemic, both locally and globally,” said the report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
The report said “racism, poverty, and bias has amplified the health and economic pain and hardship imposed by this pandemic.”
The coronavirus outbreak has hit Black, Hispanic and Native Americans disproportionately in hospitalizations and deaths.
Reasons are various and complex, but the disparities are believed to be rooted in minorities working in jobs on the front lines, having medical conditions associated with severe disease, higher rates of poverty and poor access to health care.
“Everybody knows from the news how deadly this has been for minorities," panel co-chair William Foege of Emory Rollins School of Public Health said Friday. "We said it’s racism that is the root cause of this problem.”
In the US city of Chicago, Blacks make up 29 percent of the city’s population but 43 percent of the nearly 3,000 Covid-19 deaths.