This commentary amplifies the insidious nature of the novel coronavirus (resulting in COVID19) and its ubiquitous spread, which disproportionately and adversely affect the health and well-being of people of color. The consequence is poor health outcomes and premature death. Ample previous literature documents health inequities in the morbidity and mortality statistics for Black and Brown people in the United States. Their excess deaths are due to disproportionately high rates of serious health conditions (diabetes; hypertension; asthma; and lung, kidney, and heart disease), as well as structural factors having to do with income, employment, and the built environment in which they live. The health conditions are exacerbated with ongoing societal problems and stress emerging from the country’s history of dehumanizing racial inequities. Current discrimination comes most virulently in the form of systematic and institutionalized racist policies that keep racial and ethnic minorities marginalized and disempowered. Furthermore, people of color encounter the immediate external pressures of working away from home and using public transportation during the country’s extraordinary ongoing lockdown, heightening the risk of exposure to the virus. Moreover, the same population is overrepresented in jails and prisons where social distancing is impossible. Any virulent virus without a vaccine is bound to become a human petri dish in which people of color in the U.S. today are caught.The war against the coronavirus for people of color is part and parcel of the war to eliminate historic inequities and to level the socioeconomic playing field. This article covers the racial/ethnic inequities in morbidity and mortality from COVID19 and the slow and untimely response by the federal government to address mediation of the spread of the virus. For people of color to transcend the coronavirus pandemic crisis there must be comprehensive access to COVID-19 testing and early, sustained, and affordable access to health care, including hospitalization. Such access will require national leadership, which seems to be in short supply.
Pandemic, racial inequities, ethnic inequities, minority populations, COVID-19