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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Institutional racism is at the root of why African Americans are many more times more likely to catch, and die from, COVID-19, according to Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
In the United States, there have been more than 1 million recorded cases of COVID-19, including 64,283 cases, according to the most recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Well, look, Rev, I think I’m the first one to call this to the attention nationally saying that there’s evidence coming out of Michigan and Detroit and other areas showing that African-American communities–if you live in an overwhelmingly black county versus a white county–you are three times more likely to get the disease and five to six more times more likely to die from the disease,” Biden told the Rev. Al Sharpton on Sharpton’s MSNBC program.
“First and foremost, we have to keep meticulous records on everyone who passes, everyone who in fact is found to have the COVID-19 virus. And so that’s Number One. Number Two, why is this happening? I suspect we’re going to find a lot of things,” he added. “We have to make sure there’s equal distribution of resources and testing and medical equipment in all communities we got to make sure our economic recovery is equitable, make sure the people in fact in communities where there’s significant need are getting the help. And the institutional racism at the root of this injustice, I’m hopeful that what this crisis is going to do is rip the blinders off us in the nation to take action together.
“This virus is magnifying systemic inequities. Low-income communities, people of color are more likely to be hard hit, less likely to have insurance and access to testing, etc. And it has to be figured out. It has to be dealt with,” Biden said. “People with asthma that have a higher rate of fatality and getting this disease in the first place. I said from the start, ‘Look, I am running to restore the soul of the nation,’ and these injustices make just how clear it is. Look who is making all — not all but the vast majority of the sacrifices–the people who aren’t making a lot of money, the first responders who can’t stay home, people who are still in the grocery stores making sure the food is stacked and getting things out, the people who, in fact, are not able to walk away.
And I don’t know how many nurses that are African-American and doctors that are African-American and all doctors and nurses are risking their lives and losing their lives in this process. Many states are starting to release data as well as the CDC, and it shows a disproportionate of numbers of blacks dying,” Biden said. “Minority counties have three types the rate of infection, six times the rate of death of majority white counties. That’s the fact. We have to focus our researches on the most vulnerable populations. And we have to have equitable distribution of resources.”
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