Joe Biden says the coronavirus sweeping the U.S. is exposing inequity and the impact of “structural racism.”
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said in a Thursday post on Medium that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should release more information on the income levels of those struck by the virus, along with their races.
“This pandemic is shining a light on so many inequities in our society — the lack of paid sick leave for workers, the need for stronger unemployment insurance, the necessity for a livable minimum wage. Unsurprisingly, it’s also amplifying the structural racism that is built into so much of our daily lives, our institutions, our laws, and our communities,” Biden wrote.
Leave it to the Democrats to make a virus “racist.”
An early data analysis from the Washington Post indicates that counties with majority-Black populations have coronavirus infection rates three times higher than counties with majority white residents, with death rates nearly six times higher. In some parts of the country, Latinos appear to be harder hit as well. And, we’ve also seen reports of climbing infections and death tolls among the Navajo Nation and fears about the disproportionate impact the virus could have on Indian Country.
It’s unconscionable, and it shouldn’t be the case in the United States of America in the 21st century. But we know exactly why it is: Black, Latino, and Native Americans are still less likely to have health insurance. Less likely to have access to health care. More likely to have underlying conditions, like asthma and diabetes, that make them more vulnerable to this virus. And, more likely to face exposure to air pollutants that may be associated with higher COVID-19 death rates. Black and Latino Americans are also less likely to have a job they can just do from home. Meaning they’re more likely to have to choose between their health and a paycheck.
Biden joined Democratic congressional members Rep. Ayanna Pressley, along with failed presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren and others who have demanded that the CDC and other agencies release more data. “Not just data on age, but also on income and race, so we can focus resources on where help is needed first and fastest,” Biden wrote.
“This virus can hit anyone, anywhere — regardless of race, economic status, or access to power — but it doesn’t impact every community equally. It hits hardest those who are most vulnerable and who have the fewest resources. The challenge for us as leaders is ensuring support gets to those who need it immediately, and doing the necessary work to rip out the structural racism that creates these inequalities wherever we find it.
“We can do better for all our people. We have to,” Biden wrote.
An Associated Press analysis released Wednesday showed that black Americans have been disproportionately hit by the virus. Of the 3,300 COVID-19 victims whose demographic data was publicly shared by officials, about 42% were black, the AP analysis found, noting that blacks account for roughly 21% of the total population in the areas covered by the analysis.
But many blacks live in more urban areas, and cities have been harder hit than rural areas.