Dr. Fauci on why the coronavirus is wreaking havoc on black communities

Black, indigenous and Latino communities have been the most affected by coronavirus. Black Americans, according to the CDC, are 2.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to their white counterparts. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease physician, sat down with BET to discuss why minority communities have such a high number of infections, hospitalizations, and death rates, and what can be done to address the disparity. Watch the full interview with Dr. Fauci on BET.com.

Marc Lamont Hill: The African American community has been particularly affected by the coronavirus. Can you help me, first of all, to understand why this happens?

Dr. Fauci: It is what I call a double blow against the minority, but particularly the African American and Latino community. They don’t like to generalize, but as a demographic, the African American community is more likely to have a job that doesn’t allow them to stay home and telecommute most of the time, they are in essential jobs. I mean, obviously, there are a lot of African Americans who aren’t, who could easily do it.

But as a broad demographic, you’re out there, you’re exposed. You may be in a financial, economic, or work situation where you don’t have as much control over physical separation, which is one of the ways you prevent infection. Therefore, the probability that you will become infected is greater than the probability that someone is not in your position.

The flip side of the coin, and this has a lot to do with long-term social determinants of health, as a demographic, African Americans have disproportionately larger incidents of underlying conditions that allow them to have a more unfavorable outcome, that is, more serious illness, hospitalization and even death. That is, diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, chronic kidney disease. If you look at the populations as a whole and look at the demographic group of African Americans and the demographic group of the rest of the population, or Caucasians, what you see is a much higher incidence. So you have two things against you: You are physically in a position that you are more likely to become infected, and if you become infected, you are more likely to have a serious outcome.

So for me, what we need to do is focus and focus resources on those areas that are overrepresented by African Americans. In other words, it allows you to get tested more quickly, [get] quick results and access to medical care. We can do it now, today, if we concentrate resources.

How do we ensure that the most vulnerable people, particularly poor black people, have access to medical care, access to preventive materials? What kind of resources could we redirect?

First of all, a great awareness of the need that if you are African American and get infected, you are more likely to have a serious outcome. Therefore, we must have a public awareness on the part of clinics and hospitals that you must pay special attention to that, you have someone at higher risk. And when you know you have someone at higher risk, you make certain medical decisions. You can take them to the hospital sooner. So we have to educate people about it.

The longer term is something that will not heal overnight, and that is the economic and other situation in which African Americans find themselves, since they are not in a situation where they obtain greater access to health care from an economic point of view.

But the other thing I think we should make is a commitment that is probably measured in decades. And that is, why do African Americans have a higher incidence of hypertension? Why do they have a higher incidence of diabetes? Why do they have a higher incidence of obesity? It is not genetic. It has to do with years and years of access to the right kinds of food, access to the right kind of health care. Those are the things we have to change. But that means perhaps if there is a silver lining to this outbreak, which I hope there is always something positive about everything that is so challenging, it is to focus with a laser beam on the health disparities that we have to change, and it has to change at the fundamental basic level. It won’t be tonight or tomorrow or next week.

It will be in the coming years. So when people think about this outbreak, they say, “Hey, let’s pay attention to this because it’s another example.” I went through the same thing in the early years of HIV, the disproportionate number of African Americans who get HIV infection. [They] they are 13% of the population; 45% of all new HIV cases are African American. That is unacceptable. That is another example of the unfortunate health disparity.

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There is a long history of skepticism about the American medical establishment in the black community. Yes it’s him Tuskegee experiment Or our inability to access pain medication with the same pain levels as our white counterparts in hospitals and emergency rooms, we have had very bad experiences with American medicine. Some black people are afraid of the idea. How is that taken into account and what are the steps to recruit people for these trials?

We have a story that has improved a lot, a lot lately, recently, in the last few decades, but a bad news story that goes back to things like Tuskegee. I think it’s good that you made that comment about pain medications. It is true. We have African Americans with sickle cell anemia coming into the emergency room in terrible pain. And, you know, sometimes there is a reluctance to give them the pain medication they need. So that’s the kind of thing that’s understandable why there is skepticism among African-Americans regarding the typical classic medical establishment.

So what are we doing about it? It is called community engagement and outreach to the community where we are building on the community relationships we started years ago with HIV.

When I started the HIV program in [National Institutes of Health]We developed relationships with community representatives whom the African American community trusted because they reflected the African American community. So I often joke around, but it’s the truth, you want to go into the African American community with people who look, think, and act like the people you’re trying to convince. You get a white guy like me in a suit like me and a tie when you walk in, talking to people who are people you don’t identify with every day. But if you can get people from the community on the ground to come in and say, “Hey, let me tell you, I’ve figured it out. This is for your own benefit,” plus people like me say the same thing. . So when you see people in authority and people at the community level saying the same thing, hopefully you can get the African American community to essentially do things for their own benefit because it’s for their own benefit to protect themselves from this infection.

Dr. Fauci Responds to Conspiracy Theories, COVID Vaccines, and Health Disparities in the Black Community by
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