Surgeon General Jerome Adams said “structural racism” and social determinants of health, including poverty, are to blame for why the coronavirus has caused more hospitalizations and deaths among communities of color.
Communities of color already had worse health outcomes than whites before the pandemic, but the coronavirus brought renewed attention to the disparities.
The surgeon general plans to roll out two calls to action in the coming months, one on high blood pressure and the other on maternal mortality.
Adams said healthcare providers needed to partner with community groups so people have someone they trust to turn to.
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Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that “structural racism” has played a role in why communities of color have been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with Business Insider on Friday, Adams reflected on federal data released last week that found Black seniors were four times more likely than white seniors to be hospitalized due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that Latinx seniors were twice as likely to be hospitalized.
He said some of the outbreaks among communities of color could be attributed to what are known as “social determinants of health” — including that they were more likely to have lower incomes and live in households where grandparents, parents, and children all lived together. They were also more likely to have jobs where they couldn’t work form home, making it more likely that they’d be exposed to the coronavirus.
“But there are also factors that we don’t measure, and those include things like structural racism,” Adams said. “We have to acknowledge that these things are occurring and that they are occurring to people in many cases because of the color of their skin.”
Before the pandemic, it was already well known that Black and Latinx Americans were more likely to have health conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease. There’s been renewed national attention to these health inequities as data show these communities have been harder hit by the coronavirus.
Adams plans to draw national attention to health issues
Congressional Democrats had criticized the lack of data on race in the Trump administration’s reporting on coronavirus cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced June 4 that states must start collecting data about race, ethnicity, gender, and zip code for coronavirus cases, and the agency’s website now displays the data.
The CDC’s data shows the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on communities of color. More than half of cases have been reported in Black or Latinx Americans.
In response to health disparities in America, Adams is readying two calls to action in the coming months on hypertension and maternal mortality — both issues that disproportionately affect communities of color.
A “call to action” from a surgeon general involves publishing and publicizing a document that’s supposed to encourage businesses, local governments, …read more
Source:: Business Insider