Minorities are dying of Covid-19 at alarming rates.
Across the United States, black and Hispanic people suffer disproportionately from poverty, poor health care and chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
In New York City, Hispanic people are dying at the highest rate. Nearly 34 percent of the deaths in New York City are of Hispanic residents, who make up 29 percent of the population. Black New Yorkers, who represent about 22 percent of the city’s population, make up about 28 percent of the deaths.
As the pandemic continues, it is crucial that local and state health departments across the country report data on how the coronavirus is affecting people by race and also by gender and age. In Boston, for instance, doctors and community leaders are raising the alarm about high rates of infection in Latino neighborhoods, yet the official figures don’t reflect that concern.
The racial disparities may be predictable, but they are tragic nonetheless. Public health experts say there are actions that states and cities can take right now to help save lives. Doing so would help protect all vulnerable people.
As masks, gloves and other protective equipment become more available, it is clear that all essential workers require them, not just emergency and medical personnel. That includes janitors, home health aides, delivery people, grocery and farm workers and sanitation workers.
New York finally began some of this work by setting up pop-up coronavirus testing centers in recent days in minority neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. But more can be done.
Community organizers in heavily immigrant neighborhoods in Queens are scrambling to find the funds to help hundreds of families pay the burial costs in their adopted country. Manuel Castro, the executive director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment, an advocacy group that works primarily with laborers, said he was overwhelmed by requests for food from undocumented New Yorkers who are sick, out of work, or both, and have nowhere else to turn.
Similar efforts can be undertaken in rural communities, especially those connected with farm work and the meatpacking industry, where low-wage workers are at high risk.
The coronavirus has brought misery to the doorsteps of millions of Americans of all backgrounds. But in hard-hit cities like New York, New Orleans and Detroit, the virus is sweeping through generations of black and Hispanic families, bringing waves of grief, and pushing those already living on the edge of economic hardship into the abyss.
What is your opinion? Please comment, it’s true that everyone is suffering and we don’t have to focus or differentiate communities, cause certainly this disease doesn’t.