New data released by the city of Boston indicates that African-Americans and Latinos are being impacted more severely by COVID-19 than whites.
The numbers represent about 1,500 known COVID-19 cases in the city for which race or ethnicity was available. Of those, African-Americans represented 40% of known cases, despite representing about one quarter of Boston residents, according to WGBH News.
Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell joined Boston Public Radio on Friday to discuss how COVID-19 is disproportionately hitting minority communities, including in her district of mainly Dorchester and Mattapan.
"These folks behind the data points are friends, constituents, neighbors, relatives, so there's a lot more we have to do to address this issue," Campbell said. "We first have to make sure we're accurately framing the problem and completing the picture, because if we don't talk about race, we won't be doing that well."
The data shows that the illness's higher rates among minority communities are due to longstanding inequities in access to health care at large, said Campbell.
"While the inequities are sad, they're not surprising to me," she said. "These communities of color — which are immigrant communities — have, like you said, suffered incredible health care disparities around asthma, diabetes, heart disease, but they've also suffered higher rates of poverty, poor schools, economic inequities, and as a result of those inequities, they're less resilient. These communities find it more difficult to bounce back in the face of unexpected disasters."
Campbell noted that many of her constituents are the wage workers, first responders, public works employees, and nurses, which puts them at a greater risk of exposure than those who are able to work from home and otherwise isolate themselves.