President Biden’s directors of disease control and prevention have declared racism a serious threat to public health.
“Racism is a system – made up of structures, policies, practices and norms – that assign value and determine opportunities based on the way people look or their skin color,” the CDC announced on its website Thursday. “This results in conditions that unfairly distribute some and put others in society.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the statement in a statement Thursday.
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“Racism is not only discrimination against a group based on skin color or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that affect race and ethnic groups differently to affect where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in the community, ”she said in a statement.
She also accused racism of COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on color communities
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“The pandemic highlighted inequalities that have existed for generations and revealed to the whole of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic that affects public health: racism,” she said. “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 country.”
She said the CDC would combat this by examining the impact of “social determinants on health outcomes” by investing in minority communities and by launching a new website.
In addition to coronavirus, the CDC said that minority communities face a higher degree of other health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma and heart disease than white Americans.
“Over generations, these structural inequalities have resulted in strong racial and ethnic health inequalities that are serious, far-reaching and unacceptable,” Walensky said.