An assistant professor has offered an insight into why Black Americans bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
Tina Sacks, of the School of Social Welfare at University of California Berkley gave the insight in an article on Friday.
The U.S.leads the world in coronavirus cases and deaths.
Confirmed cases have surpassed 533,000. Deaths are over 20,000.
Sacks has now shed some light on why most of the victims are African-Americans.
She blamed underlying structural inequality, especially in urban areas.
She argued that black people have experienced decades of residential racial segregation.
This means that black neighbourhoods have fewer institutional anchors.
These are grocery stores, good schools and safe places to walk outside and exercise.
“Black people are disproportionately exposed to indoor and outdoor environmental toxins in their homes and neighbourhoods.
“They are, more likely to grow up in poverty.
“They are more likely to have chronic conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID,” she wrote.
Black people are also more likely to be uninsured.
They also live in a society that chronically undervalues their lives and humanity.
She wrote that black people’s health complaints are less likely to be taken seriously.
“We know this from my work and that of other scholars who research bias during the health care encounter.”
“Lastly, black people are concentrated in parts of the labour market where workers cannot stay home to shelter in place.
“This presumably brings them into contact with more people and ultimately increases their risk of acquiring COVID,” Sacks said.
Addressing the structural inequality will require short and long-term interventions, she said.
“The causes are so deeply embedded in the social system and in social policy.
- “The solutions also need to be rooted there. But that will take a lot of time and political will,” she concluded.