Racial Status And The Pandemic: A Combustible Mixture

In early March, Madalynn Rucker, then 69, agonized over whether to close her Sacramento consultancy office. On the 16th, she finally succumbed to a barrage of texts and calls from her daughter about the heightened risk of the coronavirus, and told her employees to begin working from home. That was three days before California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home order.

Her daughter was right in more ways than one. While Rucker’s age alone raised her potential danger of being hospitalized or dying of COVID-19, she and many of her employees share another risk factor: They are black. Rucker wonders if more public health messages targeting African Americans could have helped millions like her better prepare for the disease’s onslaught.

Officials and commentators said little about race early in the pandemic, recalled Rucker, now 70 and the executive director of OnTrack, a diversity consulting firm. “Could this have made a

Read More

Long-Standing Racial And Income Disparities Seen Creeping Into COVID-19 Care

The new coronavirus doesn’t discriminate. But physicians in public health and on the front lines said they already can see the emergence of familiar patterns of racial and economic bias in the response to the pandemic.

In one analysis, it appears doctors may be less likely to refer African Americans for testing when they show up for care with signs of infection.

The biotech data firm Rubix Life Sciences, based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, reviewed recent billing information in several states and found that an African American with symptoms like cough and fever was less likely to be given one of the scarce coronavirus tests.

Delays in diagnosis and treatment can be harmful, especially for racial or ethnic minority groups that have higher rates of certain diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease. Those chronic illnesses can lead to more severe cases of COVID-19.

In Nashville, three drive-thru

Read More