Covid-19 and Its Impact on Black Americans


Cassidy Meehan, The Pulse and Social Justice Editor

Racism can be found in the United States’ response to Covid-19, resulting in the death rate of Black Americans to be greater than that of White Americans. According to Maritza Reyes, the author of “Disproportional Impact of Covid-19 on African Americans,” the consequences of Covid-19 are to be “felt differently depending on our status as individuals and as members of society.”

“Race and Medical Double-Binds” by Craig Konnoth refers to the impact Covid-19 had on different members of society, explaining, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Americans died of the disease at nearly twice the rate of the general population.” In some majority-Black counties, the death rate approached six times the death rate of majority-white counties. This discrepancy emphasizes the implementation of racism in America as healthcare resources are not as accessible to Black members of society as they are to White Americans.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, “poor and unequal living conditions are the consequences of deeper structural conditions that together fashion the way societies are organized—poor social policies and programs, unfair economic arrangements, and bad politics.” In an effort to counteract the disparity in access to health care that has long been institutionalized in the United States, at-home Covid-19 tests are free when ordered through The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) says it is important to, “Take advantage of this opportunity to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”   

America’s history of racism within medicine has instilled fear in Black Americans as well, resulting in some opposition to the vaccine. According to Konnoth, “Many black Americans were opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine due to the understandable fear arising from the ruthless experimentation historically perpetrated upon Black bodies in the United States”. An example of such experimentation can be seen as far back as the nineteenth century when Gynecologist James Marion Sims perfected his medical techniques by performing surgeries on enslaved women without using anesthesia. This caused irrevocable damage to their bodies.

America’s history of ignorance and discrimination manifests itself in modern-day healthcare systems. Many deaths among Black Americans have been a result of the nation’s inequitable course of action regarding Covid-19.