Coronavirus Exacerbates Existing Inequalities

A disturbing trend is evident in the U.S.—people of color, particularly African Americans, are experiencing more serious illness and death due to COVID-19 than white people and depriving them of jobs. (Photograph courtesy of Steve Snodrasss)

And while much of the focus has been on African Americans disproportionately contracting and dying from COVID-19, other minority populations are also adversely affected, including the Native American and Latinx/Hispanic communities.

While the coronavirus is a global threat, the pandemic has an uneven impact across the country and exacerbates inequalities. Black Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to work in the service industries consisting of low-wage workers who feel, or have been told, they must go back to work and don’t have the flexibility to stay at home.

The coronavirus is leading to higher rates of job loss among poor Americans with the potential of putting more African Americans below the poverty line and leaving them unable to feed their families. Losing your job can also mean losing your right to medical care.

Testing, treatment, and protective gear must be equally distributed and readily available to black and poor communities, and to shelters and prisons. But state openings, including in Florida, are likely to increase the spread of the disease as people come into more contact with one another. Black communities may again be hit disproportionately.

Trump has addressed the virus’s outsize impact on black Americans only in passing. He has made no effort to address the racial disparities which highlights his continued lack of compassion for concerns faced by black Americans.

This should outrage us all.