During a discussion on race in America in the first presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden cited a terrible statistic to end his case that President Donald Trump is not good for black Americans: Kovid-19 in 1,000 Americans 1 has died from the ubiquitous epidemic.
“You talk of helping African Americans – 1 in 1,000 American Americans has been killed because of coronovirus,” the Democratic nominee said Tuesday. “And if he doesn’t do anything quickly, by the end of the year, 1 in 500 will be killed.” 1 in 500 African Americans. “
“This man is the savior of African Americans? This guy cares at all? This man did almost nothing, ”Biden continued. “Look, the fact is, you have to see what he talks about.” You have to see what he did and what he did is disastrous for the African American community. “
The most notable thing about Biden’s statement? it was true.
According to the APM Research Lab, in mid-September, “1 in 1,020 Americans have died (or 97.9 deaths per 100,000).” More than 200,000 Americans have been confirmed dead from Kovid-19, and an odd number of them are Black. It is so easy. (Biden’s statement that 1 in 500 deaths could occur by the end of the year without prompt action, reflecting an estimate that by January 1, the US death toll could rise to 400,000.)
There are many reasons for this. Black Americans have proportionately higher rates of asymptomatic conditions, including heart disease and cancer, with more Kovid-19 deaths and hospitalizations. Black Americans are more likely to work in jobs that are considered “necessary”, requiring them to go to work and risk exposure to coronaires.
Housing segregation has led black Americans to have less access to clean water and created many long-term health disparities. Race, place, income and health are, as should be clear by now, unbreakable. And the health consequences of these disparities have been particularly evident during the epidemic, as David Williams, a professor of public health and sociology at Harvard, wrote in a May 2020 editorial Jama:
The economic situation matters deeply to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 exposure. Low-income and minority workers are overripped among essential service workers who must work outside the home if given shelter-in-direction. Many people must work on buses and subways.
But the bottom line is that due to both systemic racism and factors particularly Kovid-19 and the economic crisis in particular, black Americans have died at disproportionately high rates during the epidemic. The Trump campaign has struggled during the 2020 campaign to appeal to black Americans or at least to convince its white supporters that the Republican Party is not racist. Trump’s support has increased slightly among predominantly black men, but Biden is still expected to carry black voters heavily.
But Biden, as he did throughout the debate, brought the issue back to Kovid-19. In the last six months, but throughout its history, America’s failures have led to that tragic outcome.
Help keep vox free for all
Millions of people turn to Vox every month to understand that from the coronovirus crisis to racial vengeance, which is probably the most consequential presidential election of our lifetime. Our mission is not more important than it is in the moment: empowering you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of interpretive journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recover, your support will be an important part of maintaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you have not, please consider helping everyone create an increasingly chaotic world: Contributions from today as low as $ 3.