- McKenzie Ennis
COVID-19 Is Ravaging Minority Communities
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has negatively impacted many people in our country, but the disparities that people of color face has put them at a much higher risk than their white counterparts.
In a study published by the CDC in November of 2020, the infection and death rates among the American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN), Hispanic/Latinx, and African American communities are several times higher than that of white communities.
These communities are at a much higher risk of being diagnosed with health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, asthma, and heart disease. Lower socioeconomic status, limited access to a healthy lifestyle, and increased levels of stress all play a direct role in the disproportionate impact. It has been proven that these health conditions make the risk of complications and death by COVID-19 much higher.
Lack of proper health care among people of color also contributes to the disproportionate effects of COVID-19. The low socioeconomic status of many people of color means that they cannot afford health care or that their healthcare is limited. This leads to many people of color waiting until the last minute to get help.
Oftentimes, by the time these sick patients ask for help, it is too late. Many undocumented immigrants fear that if they get medical help, then their status will be discovered, which may in turn lead to their inevitable deportation. The lack of help people of color are receiving is a common factor for the disproportionate deaths in these communities.
Another reason for COVID-19 impacting people of color so harshly is that people of color tend to be the front line and essential workers. This includes but is not limited to bus drivers, public cleaning services, construction workers, and workers in food services. In these lines of work, minorities cannot afford to miss shifts, leaving them at a higher risk of both infection and spreading the virus.
Lastly, low socioeconomic status tends to lead to crowded living spaces. Such neighborhoods are concentrated with many people living in a small area, like individual homes that house large amounts of people. Multigenerational households are prevalent in AIAN communities as well.
A large population in limited areas means a lack of social distancing and a higher risk of spreading the virus. People of color have long faced inequities in America. COVID-19 has demonstrated the utter danger that inequality poses in our society.