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As of mid-2020, two major crises currently afflict the United States, overlapping and compounding one another: COVID-19 and racial injustice. Globally, as of August 4, 2020, there have been 18,142,718 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 691,013 deaths, reported to WHO. Of that, the United States has had 4,629,459 confirmed cases with 154,226 deaths. This means that while the US comprises only 4.25% of the total world population, it makes up 25.5% of all cases and 22.3% of all deaths. The coronavirus is classified as a pandemic with a significant number of undetected, asymptomatic cases, as many people travel, interact and transmit the virus to others, leading to massive outbreaks. There is increased risk with increased age and underlying health conditions, but one pattern that has become clear in the US has been the disproportionate increased risk of contraction and death for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). Recently, The New York Times sued the CDC in order for them to reveal information that confirms drastic disparities in the impact of COVID-19 on African American, Latino and Native American communities. Latino and African-American residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, according to this new data. Why is this? Biological skin color does not affect one’s risk, but the systems we have in place, emphasizing racial inequity, definitely do. Due to long-standing systemic health and social inequities, racial minorities are at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19, according to the CDC. This research project investigates the COVID-19 health crisis in the US, how it is connected to racial injustice with health and social inequities placing racial minorities in disproportionate harm, on top of how the Trump administration’s actions/inactions have heightened these issues in such a way that the compounded crisis exposes the most severe, long-lasting and deadly consequences of the politics of structural racism.
Smith, Jenna, "Two Major and Compounding Crises in the US Examined: COVID-19 and Racial Injustice" (2020). 2020 Summer Research Poster Session. 6.