Black Americans bear brunt of coronavirus impact: research
Published: Apr 12, 2020 01:38 PM

People wearing masks take a walk near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C., the United States, April 11, 2020. Photo:Xinhua

Black Americans are bearing the brunt of the health and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in urban areas due to the underlying structural inequality, according to a research by the University of California Berkeley.

Tina Sacks, an assistant professor of the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkley, analyzed several factors in an article published on Friday, arguing that black people have experienced decades of residential racial segregation, which means that black neighborhoods typically have fewer institutional anchors, such as 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 neighborhoods, more likely to grow up in poverty, making them more likely to have chronic conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID," she said.

A shopper (L) wearing a mask walks into a supermarket in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, April 4, 2020. Photo:Xinhua

According to the research, black people are also more likely to be uninsured. "We know from my work and that of other scholars who research bias during the health care encounter that black people's health complaints are less likely to be taken seriously," she noted.

"Lastly, black people are concentrated in parts of the labor market where workers cannot stay home to shelter in place, which presumably brings them into contact with more people and ultimately increases their risk of acquiring COVID," Sacks said.

Black people live in a society that chronically undervalues their lives and humanity. Addressing structural inequality will require short- and long-term interventions.

"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.

People are seen in front of a makeshift morgue in New York, the United States, April 6, 2020. Photo:Xinhua