In retrospect, I wonder why it’s taken so long to see an article like this. From Propublica comes this:
No, the coronavirus is not an “equalizer.” Black people are being infected and dying at higher rates. Here’s what Milwaukee is doing about it — and why governments need to start releasing data on the race of COVID-19 patients.
I think there must be a template document for articles like this in which [Crisis of the Day] afflicts [identity politics fill in] at a greater rate than that 21st Century supervillain, white males (boo! hiss!). This does seem to have elements that I’ve seen a hundred times before:
Rich whites are at fault.
The coronavirus entered Milwaukee from a white, affluent suburb. Then it took root in the city’s black community and erupted.
Government brings back painful memories of oppression.
Then, when the shelter-in-place order came, there was a natural pushback among those who recalled other painful government restrictions — including segregation and mass incarceration — on where black people could walk and gather.
Because of racist lack of basic medical care…
As the disease spread at a higher rate in the black community, it made an even deeper cut. Environmental, economic and political factors have compounded for generations, putting black people at higher risk of chronic conditions that leave lungs weak and immune systems vulnerable: asthma, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. In Milwaukee, simply being black means your life expectancy is 14 years shorter, on average, than someone white.
The reasons for this are the same reasons that African Americans have disproportionately high rates of maternal death, low levels of access to medical care and higher rates of asthma…
Frightening racist statistics!
In Michigan, where the state’s population is 14% black, African Americans made up 35% of cases and 40% of deaths as of Friday morning. Detroit, where a majority of residents are black, has emerged as a hot spot with a high death toll. As has New Orleans.
Illinois and North Carolina are two of the few areas publishing statistics on COVID-19 cases by race, and their data shows a disproportionate number of African Americans were infected.
Dire Predictions! Although to be fair, that characterizes virtually any article having to do with the coronavirus, but when it comes to minorities, is even more dire!
“It will be unimaginable pretty soon,” said Dr. Celia J. Maxwell, an infectious disease physician and associate dean at Howard University College of Medicine, a school and hospital in Washington dedicated to the education and care of the black community. “And anything that comes around is going to be worse in our patients. Period.
Although the article does ultimately make the reasonable point that demographic data, including race, is important in determining how and who is at risk.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks virulent outbreaks and typically releases detailed data that includes information about the age, race and location of the people affected. For the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC has released location and age data, but it has been silent on race. The CDC did not respond to ProPublica’s request for race data related to the coronavirus or answer questions about whether they were collecting it at all.
And as we all know, when America catches a cold, black people get the coronavirus.
Experts say that the nation’s unwillingness to publicly track the virus by race could obscure a crucial underlying reality: It’s quite likely that a disproportionate number of those who die of coronavirus will be black.
After all, the real disease is racism.
“We declared racism as a public health issue,” said Kowalik, the city’s health commissioner. “It frames not only how we do our work but how transparent we are about how things are going. It impacts how we manage an outbreak.”
And because of distrust, and racism, the “community” doesn’t trust or listen to Public Health instructions.
Knowing which communities are most impacted allows public health officials to tailor their messaging to overcome the distrust of black residents.
“We’ve been told so much misinformation over the years about the condition of our community,” Royal, of the NAACP, said. “I believe a lot of people don’t trust what the government says.”
And of course businesses are forcing their people of color employees (POCE) to put themselves at risk.
Police and inspectors are responding to complaints received about “noncompliant” businesses forcing staff to come to work or not practicing social distancing in the workplace. Violators could face fines.
“Who are we getting these complaints from?” she asked. “Many people of color.”
Here that? Many!
And in keeping with the Ta Nehsi Coates era…
“When COVID-19 passes and we see the losses … it will be deeply tied to the story of post-World War II policies that left communities marginalized…”
You guessed it, redlining!
With this basic template, you could plug just about any public issue into it and get pretty much the same causes and the same effects. Expect to see more and more stories like this in the media.