Dr Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration's top medical adviser said that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed racial disparities in living conditions and access to healthcare across the US that required serious action to fix.
During a commencement address given virtually to new graduates of Emory University, the president's chief medical adviser pointed to higher rates of COVID-19 deaths among Black Americans, Latino Americans, and members of other minority groups as evidence of "social determinants" that caused the pandemic to hit those communities especially hard, The Hill reported.
"Now, very few of these comorbidities [with COVID-19] have racial determinants. Almost all relate to the social determinants of health dating back to disadvantageous conditions that some people of colour find themselves in from birth regarding the availability of an adequate diet, access to health care, and the undeniable effects of racism in our society," he said.
Fauci said correcting societal wrongs will take a commitment of decades, and he urged the graduates to be part of the solution.
He said that the infectious disease disparately hospitalized and killed people of colour.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last fall that Black Americans as well as those who are Hispanic or Latino were dying at disproportionately higher rates from COVID-19 compared to non-Hispanic white Americans.
Researchers have linked the higher rates of deaths in those groups to social factors including housing and employment as well as some health factors including higher rates of diabetes and other underlying conditions in those communities.