A new report from the Center for American Progress shows how African Americans and other people of color in the United States are more at risk from complications of the COVID-19 virus because they are more likely to have other medical issues that make them more susceptible to serious complications from the virus. And people of color are more likely than White Americans to have jobs that pose a greater risk of exposure to the virus. The luxury of working at home is not an option for many millions of African Americans.
The report shows that at least 28 percent of people of color between the ages of 18 and 64 — more than 21 million people in total — have a medical condition that could put them at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. People of color are more likely to reside in food deserts and near pollution-emitting industrial facilities and other environmental hazards that contribute to high rates of asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and other maladies. Such health disparities, which are a product of structural racism rather than individual choices or behavior, have contributed to stark inequities in COVID-19 outcomes.
Governors or mayors who prematurely roll back social distancing policies will be forcing many at-risk Americans back to work in extremely dangerous environments against their will.