Covid-19: Racial Disparities

By: Arianna de la Cruz

image by Getty Images

Since the pandemic struck, the U.S' privatized and fragmented system failed to protect and provide for those with fewer resources, working-class populations, and POC. They deserved medical treatment without ending up with outrageously high debt, or even having to worry about the weight of the cost of surviving this pandemic. 

 

But why exactly is this happening?

 

The Harvard center for population and development study about the racial disparities of COVID-19 “revealing the unequal burden of COVID-19 by income, race/ethnicity, and household crowding: US county vs. ZIP code analyses”, concluded that factors like exposure to pollution in working places, crowded housing, and racialized economic segregation, were directly linked to these death rates. A Labornotes article by Dean E. Robinson also pointed out that “these patterns do not reflect the mysteries of human biology but the brutal truth about health under capitalism.

 

We can reach these conclusions because of the cross-sectional studies that were conducted a few months after the pandemic struck. But way before COVID-19,  about one-third of those with health insurance acquired it as a public benefit, and more than half of Americans with health insurance acquired it as an employment-related benefit. A system that is affordable to some, and out of the league for the rest is deemed to fail. 

 

Not for an instance am I suggesting that all kinds of medical treatment should be classified as a human right. Healthcare as a human right is very hard to describe in itself. Plastic surgeries or procedures like infertility treatments cannot, by any means, be compared to rights like the basic provision of food and water. But what they should be is affordable, no human deserves to die because their illness is "too expensive". 

 

Affordable housing, full employment, and robust anti-discrimination law and public policy are extremely important to achieve if Americans want to reform the healthcare system in a way that everyone can enjoy its benefits, without the load of the cost.