Patient Safety, Position Statement

COVID Has Affected All of Us, But Some More Than Others

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us all remember that Black Lives Matter, that there are healthcare inequalities, and that we need systemic change.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of January 17, 2020, in the United States, there have been more than 23 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and almost 400,000 deaths due to COVID. 

While these WHO statistics are mind-numbing, what they do not show is that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected some American communities more than others. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci (as reported by CNBC), state-level data demonstrate that black people are disproportionately dying from COVID-19:

  • In Michigan, black people makeup 14% of the state’s population, but account for 41% of coronavirus deaths, according to data released by Michigan’s government. 
  • In Illinois, black people makeup 14% of the population, but account for 32.5% of coronavirus deaths, according to the state’s Department of Public Health.
  • In Louisiana, where black people make up about 33% of the population, Gov. John Bel Edwards said in early April they account for more than 70% of the state’s coronavirus deaths, with the majority of these fatalities taking place in New Orleans.
  • In New York City, black and Latino people are twice as likely to die from the virus than their white peers, according to data by the local government.

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people of color, as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). COVID has further exacerbated these differences. The COVID cardiovascular disease registry of the American Heart Association found that Black and Hispanic patients bore a greater burden of mortality and morbidity among COVID hospitalizations. 

COVID has laid bare healthcare inequalities and the need for systemic change. Join with the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety in acting NOW to be:

  • Actively be anti-racist.
  • Recognize that racism tears at the fabric of our society and therefore is a societal issue that has a profound impact on ALL communities and aspects of life.
  • Identify and call out racism, whether that it exists in ourselves, our neighbors, or in our leaders.
  • Listen and amplify black voices, like the Association of Black Cardiologists and the National Black Nurses Association.

For more on our position on Black Lives Matter, please download and read our position statement