[NOTE: Latest COVID-19 analysis by Solano County Public Health shows Whites at 39% of the county’s population, but only 25% of cases, 23% of hospitalizations and 23% of deaths. Vallejo and Fairfield account for 54% of the population, but 73% of COVID cases, surely reflecting the two cities’ relatively poorer and browner neighborhoods. – R.S.]
Is the spread of the coronavirus, and especially its disproportionate impact on the African-American community, teaching us new things about racial disparities in health care and health outcomes or confirming things we have long known?
More the latter. What the virus is doing is pulling a thread that is showing how many things are actually connected, and how deeply people are actually connected. But it’s also revealing the very different conditions in which we live because of social structures that are inequitable, both within the United States and between countries. By pulling the thread, it’s revealing patterns that have been long known in public health.
So, when you think about something like this coronavirus, you have to think about who’s exposed in the first place and where they are exposed—at work, at home, and what are the conditions? You have to think about, if they’re exposed, do they get infected? You have to think about, if they get infected, do they get ill? And you have to think about, if they’re ill, do they actually die?
And you take each of those steps, which are all different steps in this process, and turn to what are the preliminary—and, I emphasize, preliminary—data on the excessive death rates. My state, Massachusetts… […continued…]