There is an explanation for why one of the most notable anti-racist movements in global history is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic itself has provided the perfect backdrop for discussions, demonstrations, and protests. The Washington Post cited research that majority-black counties have both COVID-19 infection rates and death rates that are 3 and 6 times higher, respectively, than majority-white counties. Specifically, black citizens are 2 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than their white counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic can be viewed as a litmus test for systemic racism.
Dr. Kenneth R. Alleyne, an orthopedic surgeon and vice chair of the Connecticut Health Foundation, reports how systemic factors account for these disparities in transmission and death rates among Black citizens.
Examples include: less access to healthy food, reliance on public transportation, and absent or poor health insurance coverage. Dr. Alleyne also points out that due to systemic oppression, Black Americans are more likely to hold jobs that have been considered “essential” or put them more at risk to contract COVID-19, such as food preparation, delivery, and cleaning services. Such conditions make it easier for someone to contract COVID-19 and harder to get tested or treated for it.
Dr. Alleyne suggests the use of telemedicine to bridge disparities experienced by Communities of Color during the pandemic. He reports making sure communities equip People of Color with COVID-19 health information and screening tools with mobile health care being a necessary first step.