REPORT: Coronavirus pandemic has ‘unmasked’ the face of racism, inequities in Houston and the U.S.

HOUSTON – A national report released Thursday said the coronavirus pandemic has widened racial disparities across the U.S., creating a crisis that has contributed to increased death rates among Black and Latino communities.

The National Urban League’s 2020 State of Black America report, “Unmasked,” examines economic, health, civic, and other social systems impacted by COVID-19 and the effect that’s had on communities of color.

“This is a crisis,” said Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League. “Those with underlying conditions are more likely to get sick. Those that have less access to doctors and hospitals are going to be diagnosed much later. When they’re diagnosed much later, they are more likely to be hospitalized, they’re more likely to die,” Morial said Thursday at the National Urban League’s virtual presentation of the report’s findings.

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National and local health and civil rights advocates said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequalities once hidden along the margins of society — high rates of unemployment, poor access to technology and health disparities, to name a few. The report concluded the pandemic “unmasked” the face of racism in the country.

Data collection remains ongoing throughout the pandemic, as various scientific and social researchers work to understand the pandemic’s toll on the nation. The report included data compiled through a partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity. Its key finding was that Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people were getting sick and dying in higher numbers.

“African Americans and Latinos are more than three times as likely to contract the coronavirus as whites, and African Americans are nearly twice as likely to die. One reason the Black death rate from COVID-19 is higher than the Latino rate, even though Latinos are more likely to contract the infection, is because the Black population is older,” the report said.

Local advocates: report casts light on inequalities worsened by COVID-19 in Houston-area


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