The death toll from COVID-19 in the US has passed one million, which is seen as a tragic milestone. In the last two years, the Novel Coronavirus has been a threat to human lives, affecting individuals in different ways. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted longstanding inequalities in American society, exposing gaps along lines of age, race and political affiliation.
Dr.Richina Bicette-mccain, an emergency physician and medical director at the McNair Emergency Room in Houston, Texas, worked during the coronavirus pandemic. She says young patients have no easier time fighting the virus.
“We had a young Hispanic patient in his early 40s who came in with shortness of breath. Within an hour, he was near death. We couldn’t save his life… He’s still young, he’s still healthy.”
Age is a factor, but race is also a factor. According to the latest data from the CENTERS for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are wide variations in infections, hospitalizations and deaths among people of different races. Native Americans are more than 2.5 times more likely than whites to die from COVID-19, African Americans are more than 1.5 times more likely than whites, and Hispanics are 1.1 times more likely than whites.
Part of the reason, Bissette-mccain said, is that these communities are concerned about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and fear a repeat of history, like the Tuskegee trial. (The Tuskegee trial was a clinical medical trial conducted by the United States Department of Health from the 1930s to the 1970s. Thousands of black people were unwittingly used as guinea pigs for government research on syphilis.)
“There are many examples in the medical community of black people who are not treated fairly, for example, when experiments are conducted directly on them, and black people suffer and die of diseases that can be cured,” she said. They’re not just worried about the Novel Coronavirus, they’re not just worried about the vaccine, they’re worried about the entire medical establishment.
Gervonne Romney-Rice, a town councilwoman in Borgen County, New Jersey, said her town was already very diverse, but her vaccinations did not reflect that. Romney-rice said,
“I saw very few people of color on the vaccine lines.
And according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in December 2021, unvaccinated people are 53 times more likely to die of a coV-related illness than those who were fully vaccinated with a booster shot.
Bissette-mccain said that while some Americans have been able to work from home during the pandemic, not everyone has enjoyed the privilege. Some black and brown people have been forced to start work early to support their families, putting themselves at high risk of infection.
She added that face-to-face work and other risk factors such as underlying medical conditions exacerbate inequality in COVID-19 deaths in the US.
“If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or certain cancers, you have an increased risk of death.”
Polls suggest that the emergence of novel Coronavirus in 2020 has contributed to the polarisation of US politics, with differences in key responses further dividing the country.
States that voted for Trump were, on average, more than 38 percent more likely to die than those that voted for Biden, even after vaccines were widely available, according to an ABC News analysis of federal data. Experts say other factors, including access to health care, misinformation and different approaches to the outbreak, also play a role.
“We took a public health crisis and turned it into a political crisis, pitting people against each other,” Ms. Bissert-mccain said.
She urged the United States to acknowledge past inequities and ensure that justice is a cornerstone of future efforts to address the pandemic.