US chief medical advisor: Covid pandemic highlights racism's impact
American immunologist and chief medical advisor to US President Joe Biden said Sunday “the undeniable effects of racism” have worsened the coronavirus pandemic for Black, Hispanic and Native Americans.
COVID-19 has highlighted “our own society’s failings,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who leads the coronavirus response in the United States, said during a graduation ceremony for Emory University.
Speaking by webcast from Washington, Fauci told the graduates in Atlanta that many members of minority groups work in essential jobs where they might be exposed to the coronavirus.
He also said they are more likely to become infected if exposed because of medical conditions such as hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes or obesity.
“Now, very few of these comorbidities have racial determinants,” Fauci said. “Almost all relate to the social determinants of health dating back to disadvantageous conditions that some people of color find themselves in from birth regarding the availability of an adequate diet, access to health care and the undeniable effects of racism in our society.”
Fauci said correcting societal wrongs will take a commitment of decades, and he urged the graduates to be part of the solution.
Fauci’s comments come at the convergence of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, a rise in white supremacism in the US, and civil unrest over US police brutality.
Discrimination and racism that have always existed within the US medical industry, but the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the racial disparities and inequities in treatment between blacks and the white population.