In a newly published op-ed in Think Global Health, Council Program Director Thoai Ngo underscores the importance of a United States national response to the COVID-19 pandemic that addresses persistent health and economic inequalities faced by Black and Latinx communities.
“The social and economic disparities of Black and Latinx communities—including the lack of adequate housing, education, health care, employment, and social supports—exacerbate these health conditions and in a sense, make those living in these communities more vulnerable to COVID-19. These disparities are the direct consequence of the enduring systems of social and economic racism that deny minorities equal health and economic rights, resulting in their shouldering a disproportionate burden in the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In the piece, titled “We Need a Pro-Poor and Pro-Black Response to COVID-19”, Ngo encourages the United States to apply an equity lens to its response and work towards dismantling the racial disparities and inequities magnified by the pandemic with two considerations. First, he encourages concentrated testing in poor Black and Latinx communities and the provision of prevention resources – such as masks and hand sanitizers – free of charge. Second, when an effective vaccine is made available, Ngo urges the U.S. to prioritize vaccine distribution and delivery in these communities, highlighting the importance of an equitable distribution of future resources.