Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday that institutional racism is a factor contributing to black communities having suffered disproportionately during the coronavirus pandemic compared to white communities.
Fauci, who is in the White House coronavirus workforce, also defended the Trump administration after the president was criticized for suggesting at a Tulsa meeting that the government should reduce evidence so that the number of recorded cases was less.
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When Representative Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, asked at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing whether institutional racism was a factor in black communities that were more affected than white communities, Fauci simply said: “Yes”.
“Obviously, the African American community has suffered racism for a very, very long period of time,” said Fauci. “And I cannot imagine that this has not contributed to the conditions in which they find themselves, economically and otherwise. So the answer, Congressman, is yes.
Fauci also gave other reasons why minority communities may face a disproportionate impact. One was an increased risk of infection from work.
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“Due to financial and other considerations, the jobs that most of them would find themselves do not allow them to protect themselves by looking at a computer and telecommuting,” he said.
“And now we know, from a lot of experience now, that the situation regarding whether or not it has serious consequences (hospitalizations, intubation, complications and death) is very strongly related to the prevalence and incidence of underlying comorbid conditions that are clearly disproportionately more expressed. in the African-American population than in the rest of the population, and that includes particularly hypertension, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease, and kidney disease, “Fauci continued.” So unfortunately we have a situation where it’s kind of a double whammy. their negative ability to respond through no fault of their own, due to underlying conditions. “
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Earlier in the hearing, Fauci was asked about President Trump’s recent comment on the tests he conducted at a rally in Tulsa, Okla.
“When you test when you test, up to that point, you will find more people. You will find more cases, “Trump said, adding:” So I told my people, slow down the testing, please. “
Trump’s aides have since said he said this jokingly, and Fauci stated that neither he nor anyone else, as far as he knows, have never been told to stop testing.
“I know for sure, and to my knowledge, none of us have been told to slow down the tests. That is just a fact. In fact, we will do more testing. ”
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Fauci also said the government will increase follow-up and surveillance of contacts.
“So it is quite the opposite. We are going to do more tests, not less. “
Julia Musto of Fox News contributed to this report.