Why Racism, Not Race, Is a Risk Factor for Dying of COVID-19

COVID-19 has cut a jarring and unequal path across the U.S. The disease has disproportionately harmed and killed people of color. Compared with non-Hispanic white people, American Indian, Black and Latinx individuals, respectively, faced 3.5, 2.8 and 3.0 times the risk of being hospitalized for the infection and 2.4, 1.9 and 2.3 times the chance of dying, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The reason for these disparities is not biological but is the result of the deep-rooted and pervasive impacts of racism, says epidemiologist and family physician Camara Phyllis Jones. Racism, she explains, has led people of color to be more exposed and less protected from the virus and has burdened them with chronic diseases. For 14 years Jones worked at the CDC as a medical officer and director of research on health inequities. As president of the American Public Health Association in 2016, she led a campaign to explicitly name racism as a direct threat to public health. She is currently a Presidential Visiting Fellow at the Yale School of Medicine and is writing a book proposing strategies for a national campaign against racism.

As the country began to confront the unequal impact of COVID and the ongoing legacy of racial injustice it represents, Jones spoke with Scientific American contributing editor

— source scientificamerican.com | Claudia Wallis | Jun 12, 2020

Nullius in verba

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