Thinking Citizen Blog — Covid-19 and Racial Disparities
Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day
Today’s Topic: Covid-19 and Racial Disparities: toward a complete picture
What accounts for the racial disparities in coronavirus infection and death rates? Is this just a re-play of the debate over disparities in incarceration, poverty, and crime rates? Is dispassionate analysis possible? Will the broken record of “don’t-blame-the-victim-don’t-play the victim” ever end? Some days (and nights) I think that politics is just a rabbit hole and it’s best just to say no. Life is too short. Focus on the unfolding spring, the shifting moon, and planets, the songs that bring tears of sorrow and joy. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
RACISM ACCOUNTS FOR THE DISPARATE IMPACT (Jenee Osterheldt, Boston Globe)
1. “With coronavirus, racism is the underlying condition” (Osterheldt)
2. “Of the cases in Boston in which a patient’s race was identified, more than 40% were Black. Yet Black people only make up a quarter of the population.”
3. In Massachusetts, same pattern: Blacks are 9% of population but 18% of coronavirus patients.
ACCORDING TO THE CDC FOUR FACTORS DRIVE THE DISPARITIES
1. “The first is living conditions in densely populated low-income areas.”
2. “The second is the work circumstances of minorities, who are more likely to work in the service sector and in essential jobs that cannot be done remotely and are more often accessed through public transportation.”
3. “The third is the higher prevalence among blacks of pre-existing health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.”
NB: “a fourth factor: compliance with its guidance on precautionary measures to frequently wash hands, shelter in place except for essential tasks, and use a face mask and maintain a safe distance from others when in public.”
JEROME ADAMS, AFRICAN-AMERICAN SURGEON GENERAL, GETS PUSHBACK
1. Adams urged fellow Black Americans to boost their compliance and was denounced for being insensitive to the role of structural factors.
2. Robert Woodson, a conservative Black American commentator likened the pushback to that received by Barack Obama in 2008 when he told Black fathers to start taking more responsibility for their children. (WSJ, 5/4/20)
3. “He was immediately confronted with the wrath of “spokespersons” for the black community — including Jesse Jackson, who declared that the candidate was “talking down” to blacks and (thinking he was off-camera) issued a vulgar threat.” (Woodson)
Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history….
Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed.
Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.