The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be disproportionately impacting communities of color, according to limited national data that has been released. Though racial data of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts is scarce, recently released data from the City of Boston revealed higher infection rates in African American and Latino residents than whites.
Dr. Sandro Galea, the dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, said that the current data is limited and does not show a disproportionate burden on communities of color, though he expects that to change once more becomes available.
“What we do have does not show a disproportionate burden of coronavirus on people of color at the moment, but one would expect that we are going to see that because other states have consistently shown that,” Galea said.
Galea said he is not surprised that the pandemic is more harshly afflicting minority communities in addition to low income communities. The doctor said he believes the current coronavirus crisis has revealed long existing inequities within the healthcare system.
“So, the coronavirus really is elevating-it’s revealing things-that have been there already, and perhaps if one were to think of a silver lining, this is a wake up call,” Galea said. “We should never forget this. And our job collectively should be to say, ‘How can we remove these kinds of health gaps.’”
Galea is the Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. His most recent book is “Pained: Uncomfortable Conversations about the Public's Health.”