On Thursday, failed 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats introduced legislation that would categorize racism as a “public health crisis.”
Fox News reports that Senator Warren joined Reps. Ayanna Pressley (MA) and Barbara Lee (CA) to promote the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, which would put coronavirus pandemic restrictions in the same category as police brutality protests.
This bill expands research and investment into the public health impacts of structural racism and requires the federal government to actively develop anti-racist health policy. pic.twitter.com/Eq4Dt4yG1r
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) September 3, 2020
“It is time we start treating structural racism like we would treat any other public health problem or disease: investing in research into its symptoms and causes and finding ways to mitigate its effects,” Warren said in a statement.
“My bill with Representatives Lee and Pressley is a first step to create anti-racist federal health policy that studies and addresses disparities in health outcomes at their roots,” she added.
“Squad” member Ayanna Pressley said that the federal government has not done enough to combat “structural racism.”
“For far too long, our federal government has failed to recognize and address the structural racism that has devastated Black and brown communities and denied access to quality health care,” Pressley said.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic unveiling and exacerbating racial disparities in health outcomes, it is time we recognize and treat structural racism and police brutality as the public health crises that they are,” Pressley added.
I teamed up with @brianschatz to ask @USGAO to review disturbing reports of racism and racial discrimination against @DeptVetAffairs employees and veterans. Like other institutions in our country, the VA must be more than an ally and be anti-racist. https://t.co/zP0gt58wGr
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 2, 2020
This legislation would establish a “National Center for Anti-Racism” at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to explore the impact of racism on public health. It would also create a “Law Enforcement Violence Prevention Program” at the CDC to protect citizens against police brutality.
Though it is fairly apparent that the many Black Lives Matter protests inspired this legislation, the fact that black Americans have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus is likely another factor.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said black Americans had a high level of comorbidities that led to higher death rates, particularly in the early days of the pandemic.
“We have a particularly difficult problem of an exacerbation in health disparity,” Dr. Fauci said. “We’ve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma are disproportionally affecting minority populations, particularly African Americans.”
Dr. Fauci says institutional racism is a major factor in why more Black Americans are dying of COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/EQbLUTr5jj
— BG (@TheBGates) June 23, 2020
“Unfortunately, when you look at predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with the coronavirus – the things that get people into ICUs, require intubation, and often lead to death – they are just those very comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent in the African American population,” Fauci added.
Fauci observed, “So we’re very concerned about that, it’s very sad, there’s nothing we can do about it right now except to try and give them the best possible care to avoid those complications.”
This piece originally appeared in ThePoliticalInsider.com and is used by permission.
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