Fauci Declares the Pandemic Exposed the Effects of Racism
The surge of COVID-19 hasn’t been kind to us as a country. Almost overnight, we found our daily lives uprooted out from under us, the threat of dying from an elusive disease suddenly very real. Schools and businesses closed, masks were donned, and we learned to hold ourselves at a six-foot distance from the rest of the world.
While adjusting to life in quarantine hasn’t been easy for anyone, regardless of background, data shows that it may be the racial and ethnic minorities who are suffering the most as a whole. These minorities— particularly black, Hispanic, and Native Americans—are at the most risk of contracting, and subsequently dying of COVID.
The reason for this disparity lies within the position of essential jobs. The term essential jobs refer to occupations that are required to keep the country functioning as normal. These include those who work in agriculture, transportation, trades, retail, non-profit organizations, etc. The fact these jobs most often require the physical presence of their employees means these workers don’t have the luxury of staying home and completing their work digitally.
According to the CDC, “Essential workers are inherently at higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 due to the nature of their work, and they are disproportionately representative of racial and ethnic minority groups.”
This is only compounded by the fact many essential workers—and by extension minority groups—find it difficult to make time in their schedules to visit the doctor for treatment, not only for COVID, but also for pre-existing medical conditions that may compromise the immune system. Additionally, people of color often have more barriers to obtaining healthcare than white Americans, making getting access to certain vital prescription drugs far more difficult.
During these trying times, it’s easy to place our own struggles on a pedestal and forget the struggles of those who still have to go out into the world. These workers risk exposure to the virus to keep society going, many of whom already have to deal with the struggles of racial injustice. To neglect the needs of the people who keep this country alive is an injustice in itself. At the end of the day, their struggles are America’s struggles.
As stated by Dr. Anthony Fauci, “Societal divisiveness is counterproductive in a pandemic. We must not be at odds with each other since the virus is the enemy, not each other.”