DPCC Report: Racial Disparities on Full Display—COVID-19 Is Disproportionately Affecting Communities of Color

April 30, 2020

 

New DPCC Report Outlines how COVID-19 has Amplified Existing Inequalities and Discrimination that have Impacted Communities of Color

Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (MI), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Senator Kamala Harris (CA) today released a report detailing the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 crisis on communities of color. The report can be found here. 

“For generations, communities of color have lived with disparities in health care, employment, housing and other quality of life issues.  Now during the COVID-19 crisis, we’re seeing how deadly inequality can be. In Michigan and across the country, communities of color are being put at much higher risk of contracting COVID-19. We must end these racial disparities and ensure a healthy future for all Americans,” said Senator Stabenow. 

“We must do more to help communities of color weather this storm. This pandemic has heightened many of the terrible health care and economic disparities that communities of color have unfortunately faced for generations. Senate Democrats remain committed to ensuring that these communities are provided the support they need to be both healthy and economically stable now and in the future,” said Leader Schumer. “Democrats will continue our fight to ensure communities of color have access to quality, affordable health coverage, our call for a national testing strategy that includes equitable access to testing, a Heroes Fund to provide essential frontline workers with premium pay and protections, greater action to ensure that minority owned businesses are not being shut out of the Paycheck Protection Program, and more.”

The coronavirus pandemic has further exposed and exacerbated the deep, structural racial, and ethnic inequalities that have cost the lives and livelihoods of people of color for centuries. For instance, among many factors, people of color are less likely to have health insurance, more likely to work in front-line jobs, and more likely to be exposed to air pollution. And to make matters worse, the economic fallout from COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on minority-owned businesses and workers,  said Senator Booker. There are tangible steps we can take now to reduce these disparities and mitigate the harmful economic consequences of this pandemic for everyone. We need to strengthen protections for our front-line workers, expand access to health care for those who don’t have it, and improve access to capital for minority-owned businesses, which often don’t have existing relationships with banks.

“People of color are being infected and dying from COVID-19 at alarming rates. These numbers are no doubt a reflection of reduced access to health care, longstanding income and wealth disparities, and generations of environmental injustice that make communities of color more vulnerable to the virus. We must meet the magnitude of this crisis by using the information provided in this report to address the unique needs of the hardest hit communities,” said Senator Harris.

The barriers communities of color face are systematic and lead to more risk of contracting COVID-19. Some examples of these barriers include less access to health care and healthy foods, less access to capital for minority small business owners, greater exposure to air pollution, more workers on the front lines, more families in multigenerational housing where self-isolation is nearly impossible and more. 

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