While COVID-19 has significantly affected the lives of everyone, studies show that it has most notably impacted people of color. People of color such as Latinos, Black Americans, Alaska Natives, and American Indians are disproportionately affected concerning the overall population. Factors such as occupation, healthcare access, housing, and racism play a prominent role in causing health inequities in ethnic communities. To overcome these long-standing health issues causing disparities in COVID-19, it is crucial to spread awareness on the issue so that false assumptions do not influence people.
The occupation of people of color considerably contributes to their chances of getting COVID-19. The majority of racial groups hold jobs that are regarded as essential workers who may not have the opportunity to work remotely. In addition to that, public transportation is deemed a dependent factor to get to work among people of color, leading to being at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The lack of healthcare insurance coverage among people of color is another one of the causes of inequities in health as well. Studies show that the financial barriers in accessing healthcare greatly impact the economically disadvantaged. With health insurance being so expensive, people are forced to either wait until they go to a doctor or get public health insurance. However, this substandard healthcare access and quality are causing an increase in hospitalizations for people of color at a rate of 4.7 times compared to white people, according to the CDC.
In addition, the housing and environments of minority groups must also be considered. Those who live in multigenerational family homes, which is known to be rapidly increasing among the Latinx population, is another factor that leads to being at a high risk of underlying health conditions. Furthermore, populated and densely crowded areas, where low-income groups tend to reside, make social distancing difficult. However, the importance of a strong community who is united during troubling times outweighs the potential dangers that gatherings would cause due to COVID-19. There are many ways today of how communities can support each other while simultaneously remaining safe. By following regulations that ensure your safety, being with a group of people to whom you can relate aids mental health along with stress, which may seem trivial. Still, it is another factor that attracts COVID-19.
Lastly, racism plays a substantial role for people of color regarding health risks, with stress being its primary source. Racial discrimination and the long-term effects it has on an individual's mind cause stress, leading to health damage and an increase in susceptibility to COVID-19. Discrimination relates to the physical, social, and economic aspects that occur in the lives of people of color. When people should support each other, racism still ceases to exist with constant escalation. People of color live in fear of what they might face as the days progress in an unpredictable world where people are shot without being questioned, racially profiled, and at a disadvantage against the majority.
With these factors in mind, "We must do better, and we will do better," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. Numerous organizations promote the need for equality to finally overcome the further discrimination that COVID-19 has brought upon minority groups. Spreading awareness on the factors that cause people of color to be significantly impacted by COVID-19 helps people to not make ignorant assumptions and be considerate of those in need. With individuals being aware of COVID-19 disproportionately affecting minorities, change for health equity is now possible.