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Racial disparities of COVID-19 are a consequence of racist social structures

Dr. LaRon E. Nelson recently coauthored the paper Understanding COVID-19 Risks and Vulnerabilities among Black Communities in America: The Lethal Force of Syndemics for the journal Annals of Epidemiology. The term ‘syndemic’ refers to a set of two or more interacting afflictions that result in a disproportionate burden on a population. 

“Black communities are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 throughout the United States,” Nelson said. “The data show that we are not all at equal risk during this pandemic, and this is a racialized disease.”

The paper discusses how multiple historical and current factors are responsible for the Black community experiencing the lethal force of COVID-19. Conditions such as chattel slavery, mortgage redlining practices, political gerrymandering, employment discrimination, healthcare provider biases, and a lack of Medicaid expansion are manifestations of the structural racism that all contribute to this result.

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