BY ED FELIEN
A concerned reader wrote, “Please urge more equitable distribution. Please cover this issue right away. White arms are being injected at a much higher rate than their percent of population.”
Native Americans are 1.8 times more likely to get COVID-19 than white people. They are four times as likely to require hospitalization and 2.6 times as likely to die, according to the CDC. The situation for Blacks and Hispanics is roughly the same. Blacks are 1.4 times as likely to get COVID, 3.7 times as likely to require hospitalization and 2.8 times as likely to die. Hispanics are 1.7 times as likely to get COVID, 4.1 times as likely to require hospitalization and 2.8 times as likely to die.
The CDC says the principal causes of the spread of COVID are “crowded situations; close/physical contact; enclosed space; and duration of exposure.”
Those are the conditions of poverty.
I asked friends who are health care professionals why whites are getting the vaccine ahead of non-whites. They agreed: “White people are more likely to live to old age and more white people tend to hold health care worker positions, and those are the two groups of people targeted to receive the vaccine first.”
We need to eliminate poverty and increase the vaccine supply. Is racism the reason minorities are not getting the vaccine? Probably not. But racism is the reason minorities have a higher index of poverty, and poverty is a major factor in making someone susceptible to COVID-19.