Why are minorities getting hit harder by COVID-19? Partly because of systemic racism, says Gary-Webb


THE MORNING CALL — As coronavirus cases increase in some minority communities, barriers caused by systemic racism are making it harder to provide the help those communities need, Pennsylvania doctors and public health officials said Wednesday.They were speaking at a Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee hearing on health disparities related to COVID-19.

Tiffany Gary-Webb, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, said there is a lack of robust and accessible testing, and that testing sites are not concentrated in communities of color.


Gary-Webb, a member of the Pittsburgh Black Covid-19 Equity Coalition, said one of its major accomplishments is working with federally qualified health centers to do contact tracing. She said they’re also addressing institutionalized racism, like adequate housing conditions, health care and incarceration rates.

“We know that there are disproportionate impacts, so we really think interventions now are desperately needed,” Gary-Webb said. “The narrative is clear, so now we really need to take action.”

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