The COVID Chronicles: When America Has The Flu, Black America Has Coronavirus

Front page of the paper today. Over the past few days the number of stories reporting this grim news has exploded. Governor Edwards yesterday shared that whole 32% of Louisiana’s population, Blacks were 70% of the people killed by COVID-19.

In today’s paper, Dr. Amy E. Lesen, an associate professor and researcher in the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center at Dillard University, was quoted, saying “These differences are produced by policy, not physiology… They’re based on race and class bias in the health care system, access to health care and preventative care.”

But Dr. Lesen was one of the first researchers to publicly predict that we would see this. In her March 25th editorial, she wrote:

As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, we must be clear-eyed about health inequities in Louisiana and across the country, the institutionalized practices and policies that have caused them, and the very real ways they are playing out in who gets the sickest and who dies. Community members and researchers in Louisiana have always been leaders in health justice. And yet Louisiana consistently has among the worst health outcomes and most pronounced health inequalities in the nation.

America will need to hear more of Dr. Lesen’s Lessons (she’ll have to copyright that for a podcast or something) in the years to come, but right now this is a huge topic. Below are several related stories to provide a sense of the range of impact this health disparity has had on Black Americans.

The Prez

7th president of Dillard University