The director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention has admitted that racism is a serious threat to public health.
“Across this country people are suffering,” CDC chief Rochelle Walensky said, MSN reports. “Importantly, these painful experiences and the impact of COVID-19 are felt, most severely, in communities of color.”
Walensky’s statement was in response to Black and Latino communities being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allegedly been hit hard with higher deaths compared to other races. She also noted that the glaring racial inequities existed long before they were exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Instead, the pandemic illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism.”
Here’s more via MSN:
Members of Black, American Indian or Alaska native, Hispanic and Asian communities were up to 2.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to white patients, according to the CDC. These same groups also were up to 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized from the virus.
“Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in community,” Walensky said.
“These social determinants of health have life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of individuals in communities of color,” Walensky said. “Over generations, these structural inequities have resulted in stark racial and ethnic health disparities that are severe, far-reaching and unacceptable.”
The CDC chief outlined steps the CDC is taking “to accelerate its work to address racism as a fundamental driver of racial and ethnic health inequities in the United States.”
The agency has launched a new section to their website: “Racism and Health,” to “serve as a catalyst for public health and scientific discourse around racism and health.” The goal of the hub is to hold the CDC accountable and spark dialogue around these life-threatenin issues.
“Confronting the impact of racism will not be easy. I know that we can meet this challenge,” Walensky said.