Less Exposure and More Protection: What We Can Do Now to Protect More Black and Brown Workers’ Lives

This new paper looks at how the coronavirus pandemic has upended lives. The enormity of this pain, however, has not been borne equally. Latinx and Black Americans are three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors and nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people.

July 29, 2020

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) give this reason for their stark June 25th finding: Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age.

Many of these “long standing systemic and health inequities” will take many years of focused attention and funding to address. The racism that produces higher rates of diabetes and hypertension, for example, cannot be cured through an act of Congress or a governor’s Executive Order.

Emergency policies, however, can effectively address some of the impacts of racism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The twice as high death rate for Black and Latinx people could be reduced by mandating COVID-19 safety protections at their jobs. The President and his administration have the power to lower the incidence of COVID-19 by enacting and enforcing an emergency temporary workplace health and safety rule that will give workers the equipment, distance, handwashing time, and working conditions they need to keep themselves safe.

If the president won’t act, governors must do what they can to protect workers, especially workers of color, in their state.

Click the link below to read the full paper.

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