HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – HudsonAlpha’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is hosting virtual forums to educate North Alabama’s minority population on the alarming impact of COVID-19.
There is research and evidence showing that COVID-19 is greatly impacting communities of color. Researchers say contributing factors are the distrust of the medical community and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that African American individuals are being hospitalized at three times the rate of white individuals, and have almost twice the rate of death. The hospitalization and death rates are even higher for those with a Hispanic or Latino background.
“Race and ethnicity are risk markers. There’s not something inherent in our genetic information that gives people of color a higher risk of becoming seriously ill,” says Dr. Neil Lamb.
Dr. Neil Lamb says people of color are more likely to have a higher percentage of underlying conditions, have jobs with higher risk of exposure to the virus, less access to medical care, and a general distrust in the medical system.
“Regardless this is an inequality that we have to address that communities of color find themselves in higher risk of serious illness or death,” says Lamb.
And Dr. Tonya Perry says the mistrust of the medical community and vaccine hesitancy come from a history of discrimination and marginalization.
“We have bore disproportional burden of illness hospitalizations and deaths during all public health emergencies. So I really think the mistrust that we are seeing in our communities is just as much a reflection of our weariness as it is a lack of trust in the systems that have failed us,” says Dr. Perry.