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Disproportionate Suffering from COVID-19

Daniel Singh ’22

To say that the year of our Lord 2020 so far has been a roller coaster would be undermining all the events that have occurred since the beginning of the new decade. In the midst of a year that had already started unlike any other, the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has run rampant throughout the world, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, while also leaving millions more unemployed and uncertain as to what is to come in the near future. However, for a majority of African Americans across the nation, COVID-19 has become exponentially more threatening to them in comparison to other races. The blatant racial disparity in COVID-19 cases not only shows the lack of resources in majority-black cities and communities across the nation, but once again brings up the question of if the United States of America is truly equal to all people.

Beginning its course in Wuhan, China in the latter months of 2019, COVID-19 was an equal opportunist, sparing no man, woman, or child of any race or religion. Making its way into the United States, the virus continued its rampage, as it rapidly infected the unprepared American population. However, African Americans are being hit especially hard, and it has been made obvious that the proper resources have yet to be issued to majority-black communities. Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t release COVID-19 data by race, individual cities and states have gathered and made public the most recent data about death and infection rates. In Chicago, a city in which African Americans make up  23% of the total residency, 58% of all COVID-19 deaths in the area are from black people. In Milwaukee, nearly a quarter of all residents are black but represent approximately 50% of all cases. In Louisiana, seven out of every ten coronavirus victims have been black. Additionally, a significant number of coronavirus hotspots, such as the Bronx, Queens, New Orleans, and Detroit, consist of large non-white populations. Seeing these statistics not only frightens African American people that reside in and around these locations but brings about the question as to how and why these rates are so disproportionate.

The infection rates for African Americans from COVID-19 might be outstanding, but they are certainly unsurprising. Studies by epidemiologists and socialists claim that nearly all of the underlying health issues that increase patients’ susceptibility to the coronavirus appear at higher rates in the African American population. They attribute this largely to a lack of social equality in America. African Americans are statistically less likely to occupy jobs that allow them to stay from home and are more likely to use public transportation. Additionally, black families are more likely to live in multi-generational households in which elderly relatives are exposed to COVID-19. These institutionalized issues are the reasons that, although African Americans are slightly more likely to contract the virus, they are much more likely to die from it.

One might wonder as to why these issues can’t just be fixed for African Americans given the greatness of America. However, the solutions to the problems and disparities faced by black people today have little difference in comparison to the dilemmas of yesterday. African Americans are still being innocently slaughtered in the streets like dogs, incarcerated at the highest rates in the country, and are lacking succor during these faith-testing times. Lacking representation in influential positions in society, African Americans always seem to be at a loss in any statistic that doesn’t include professional sports. Government and private aid must be extended to everyone, but especially towards those who are struggling and suffering the most. During these uncertain and worrisome times, it is crucial that everyone is taken care of, as we have all been created equal by God.

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