We’ve previously quantified the overrepresentation of COVID-19 in African Americans. This Straight, No Chaser offers a few specific reasons for those disparities. We hope policy makers and public health professionals continue to identify and address these root causes of medical and social determinants of health. These are among the main reasons for the vicious health care disparities now being revealed.
Individual Reasons for the Overrepresentation of COVID-19 in African Americans
- Clustering in America’s most populous cities
- Disproportionately poor
- Disproportionately represented in front line “essential” jobs (janitors, cashiers, bus drivers, etc.)
- Greater presence of preexisting conditions
- Inadequate housing and higher representation in homeless population
- Increased neighborhood risks (exposure to pollutants and toxins, less green spaces, less healthy food options, less safety), many of which lead to lowered immunity
- Less access to care (health facilities are less available in African American communities)
- Less access to testing (testing facilities are less available in African American communities)
- Need to utilize public transportation (representing 25% of users)
- Overrepresentation in the incarcerated population
- Unequal levels of care received due to an “empathy gap” by physicians caring for African Americans
- Perceived criminalization (yes, the perception of Blacks wearing masks actually is inhibitive to the use of personal protective equipment in the community)
These conditions don’t excuse the presence of disease or absolve individuals from exerting their best efforts toward health self-empowerment. However, it helps to appreciate factors that stack the deck for or against specific groups of individuals. Furthermore, doing so allows health professionals to create and adjust plans accordingly. Stay safe.
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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
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