COVID-19 has infected over 30 million Americans and claimed the lives of 560,000. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the impacts of COVID have disproportionately impacted communities of color, highlighting generations of structural inequities.
In a public statement, the CDC’s Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, declared that racism is a “serious public health threat” and “a fundamental driver of racial and ethnic inequalities” in the U.S.. The CDC has launched a new initiative focusing on these inequalities called “Racism and Health”. A dedicated website, according to the statement, will serve as the hub for the agency’s work in the area – such as studying the impacts of social determinants on health outcomes – and will be a catalyst for public and scientific dialogue.
“Confronting the impact of racism will not be easy,” acknowledges Dr. Walensky. “I know that we can create an America where all people have the opportunity to live a healthy life when we take responsibility and work together.”
Advancing health equity is a core pillar of the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s mission. The Center has been concerned about the racial and ethnic minority disparities, especially during the pandemic. Its report, Geography Is Not Destiny: Protecting Nursing Home Residents from the Next Pandemic, highlighted a recent study finding that nursing homes that had disproportionately more racial and ethnic minorities tended to have inadequate nurse staffing, limited financial and clinical resources, and more care deficiencies – all of which most likely provided fertile ground for COVID-19 to take root.
April 15, 2021 – C. St. John
 KFF, “COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker” (Updated April 12, 2021), available at: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/fact-sheet/coronavirus-tracker/?utm_source=web&utm_medium=trending&utm_campaign=covid-19
 CDC, “Media Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, on Racism and Health” (April 8, 2021), available at: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0408-racism-health.html