The COVID-19 pandemic has been described as an unexpected occurrence that has affected many social and economic systems globally. However, the impact of the pandemic has not been felt equally by different communities. According to Reyes (2020), African Americans have been more affected by COVID-19 than other communities in the U.S. social identities influence social inclusion and determine people’s vulnerability to diseases and epidemics. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that health equity has remained a dream as African Americans and other minorities in the U.S. have been disproportionately affected by the disease (Snowden & Graaf, 2021). Although there are no substantial research data showing that African Americans are genetically predisposed to diseases and pandemics, there are numerous social and economic factors that have intertwined, making them more prone to COVID-19. Lund (2020) argues that marginalization and racial discrimination have increased trauma and stress among African Americans, limiting their chances of fighting the pandemic. The chart below indicates how poverty, lack of access to medical care, racism, incarceration, discrimination, and underlying health conditions have increased the rates of COVID-19 related complications and deaths among African Americans.
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|Racism and discrimination||This includes interpersonal, social, historical, and political discrimination. As a result, many African Americans have been denied their health rights, making them vulnerable to COVID-19 (Reyes, 2010). The lack of social and political representation has also limited their chances of accessing justice regarding health and insurance policies.||Since racial discrimination is deeply rooted in society, the best remedy for this challenge would be enforcing social equality and inclusion policies. In addition, human rights activists should step in to ensure that healthcare is regarded as a fundamental human right that no one should be inhibited from receiving.|
|Poverty||Poverty is a critical issue that affects people’s social and economic status and access to healthcare. Statistics show that African Americans form 20.8% of the 7.5 Million low-income families in the U.S in 2018 (Reyes, 2020). The high poverty rate among African Americans has made them live in densely populated environments making it hard for them to meet the required social distancing and sanitation standards, predisposing them to COVID-19.||The best strategy for reducing the poverty rates among African Americans is creating employment opportunities and affordable housing.|
|Health insurance||Health insurance rates among African Americans are substantially lower than those of other groups in the U.S. According to Snowden and Graaf (2021), insurance among African Americans limits access to health care, especially after the reversal of the affordable care act. Untreated medical conditions due to lack of medical cover also put them at a higher risk for COVID-19 infections, according to Lund (2020). Lack of health insurance hinders many African Americans from getting treatment for COVID-19 related complications.||Advocating for health insurance and Medicaid among African Americans may be the solution in this case.|
|Homelessness||According to Reyes (2020), African Americans make up 40% of the homeless population in the U.S. Homelessness makes it hard for people to practice social distancing besides compromising their immune systems, making them vulnerable to COVID-19.||The establishment of affordable or free houses for the poor and homeless African Americans would protect them from the pandemic.|
|Incarceration||The U.S. has the highest number of people (2.2 million) in jails and prisons. Of them, black men are 5.8 times more than native Americans, while black women are 1.8 times more than white women (Reyes 2020). The high population in prisons makes it hard to achieve social distancing, further increasing the effects of COVID-19 among African Americans.||The solution, in this case, entails reforming the judicial system to ensure that African Americans receive justice as some of them are wrongfully convicted.|
Lund, M. E. (2020). Even more to handle: Additional sources of stress and trauma for clients from marginalized racial and ethnic groups in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Counselling Psychology Quarterly. Web.
Snowden, L. R., & Graaf, G. (2021). COVID-19, social determinants past, present, and future, and African Americans’ health. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 8(1), 12-20. Web.
Reyes, V. M. (2020). The Disproportional Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans. Health and Human Rights, 22(2), 299–307. Web.