What is it about?
Demographic models show that, unless the COVID-19 pandemic results in 400,000 excess deaths among U.S. whites alone, U.S. white mortality in 2020 will still be lower than U.S. Black mortality has ever been. Further, unless the coronavirus results in 700,000-1 million excess deaths among whites, white life expectancy in 2020 will still be higher than the best recorded Black life expectancy.
Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Even amid Covid-19, U.S. white mortality is likely to be less than what U.S. Blacks have experienced every year. I argue that, if Black disadvantage operates every year on the scale of whites’ experience of Covid-19, then so too should the tools we deploy to fight it. Our imagination should not be limited by how accustomed the U.S. is to profound racial inequality.
Read the Original
This page is a summary of: US racial inequality may be as deadly as COVID-19, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2020, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
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Black and White Inequality in Mortality
This figure shows U.S. Black and white mortality and life expectancy from 1906-2017 (all years with available data). Annotation illustrates the scale of the inequality over time.
Hypothetical Excess White Deaths Needed to Reach Best-Ever Black Mortality
This figure illustrates how many excess deaths in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, would be needed among U.S. whites for their mortality and life expectancy to reach the best levels ever recorded among U.S. Blacks.
Regional and Racial Inequality in Infectious Disease Mortality in U.S. Cities, 1900-1948
This related article shows that white mortality during the 1918 flu pandemic was less than what Blacks experienced every prior year.
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