Racial Bias for Pandemics


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Here’s an interesting read for you today: a story in TIME, titled: “COVID-19 Isn't the First Pandemic to Affect Minority Populations Differently. Here's What We Can Learn From the 1918 Flu”.

It rings especially poignant today, as TIME says now, “over a century later, Black people are dying at more than twice the rate of white people in the US.”

According to the article, this is a huge difference from the data we have on the 1918 pandemic, which showed white Americans were more likely to die from the Spanish flu. They work to reconcile the reason for the differences, writing:
“Public health agencies and insurance companies were operating under racist systems; statistics such as mortality rates are based on unreliable population estimates; and the pandemic struck so furiously that health agencies, hospitals and physicians could barely keep up with the stream of patients, let alone find time to compile thorough records.

Race data may be especially incomplete. Medical facilities were segregated, and the few Black-only hospitals that existed at the time were operating at capacity. Patients who couldn’t secure a place in the hospital and who subsequently died at home may not have been recorded, potentially resulting in under-reported fatalities—a phenomenon that’s sadly repeating itself with COVID-19.”

What’s important is that we continue to work to understand and rectify the fact that non-white communities are more deeply impacted by this virus.

Thanks for listening this morning. Please be sure like, rate, review, and subscribe. It’s free to you and means the world to me. I’m Ben Garves, and we’ll chat tomorrow.