In Captain Obvious news, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared racism a “public health threat” that disproportionately affects communities of color. NBC News reports it’s the latest and largest federal U.S. health agency to single out racism and it’s damning consequences on American society.
In a statement released on Thursday (April 8), CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky explained how systematic racism should be recognized as a public health crisis.
“To build a healthier America for all, we must confront the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustice that has given rise to racial and ethnic health inequities,” Walsenky said.
As a physician-scientist Walsenky also admitted how “confronting the impact of racism will not be easy,” as the CDC joins the American Medical Association who also called racism a threat to public health.
“What we know is this: racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans. As a result, it affects the health of our entire nation,” Walensky declared. “These social determinants of health have life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of individuals in communities of color.”
The novel coronavirus pandemic was also named as a supplement to on-going racism due to its detrimental impact on communities of color, based on reported cases, deaths and social consequence.
“This is not just about the color of your skin but also about where you live, where you work, where your children play, where you pray, how you get to work, the jobs you have,” Walensky said in an interview with TIME. “All of these things feed into people’s health and their opportunities for health.”
The CDC has launched Racism and Health, a new web portal designed to raise awareness and help bring about change to these findings, NPR reports. In an effort to initiate action, Walensky revealed the CDC has secured funding to address COVID-19 disparities.
According to The Hill, the agency will also invest in racial and ethnic communities, in addition to other disproportionately affected communities.
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.