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Coronavirus: A New Form of Genocide?

There is a disturbing trend in the Coronavirus fatalities that raises the question of whether trends in our society are resulting in a new form of genocide, because black Americans are dying at a rate far out of proportion to the overall population.

In Chicago, for example, blacks represent 68 percent of Coronavirus deaths despite being only 30 percent of the city’s population. In Milwaukee County, African Americans are 26 percent of the population, but account for 70 percent of the Coronavirus deaths. In Louisiana, 70 percent of those who have died were black, compared to 32 percent of the population. This trend is evident in other regions as well.

In fact, an analysis by The Washington Post shows that counties that are majority-black have three times the rate of infections and nearly six times the rate of deaths as counties where whites are in the majority.

As a result of this trend, there have been growing demands for public health officials to release more data on the race of those who are sick, hospitalized, and dying from Coronavirus, which has killed more than 12,000 people in the U.S, The Post noted.

This chart is also from The Washington Post:

County majority Counties Cases per 100k Deaths per 100k
Asian 6 19.5 0.4
Black 131 137.5 6.3
Hispanic 124 27.2 0.6
White 2,879 39.8 1.1
Note: Data per 100k based on averages.
Source: Johns Hopkins University and American Community Survey.


What’s behind this explosion in deaths in the minority population? Is this really a new form of genocide?

During the Vietnam War, it was alleged that men of color were being sent off to war, while ample deferments were available to the well-off. Attending college became one of the most available “dodges” for the affluent. Others, like Donald Trump, “Cadet Bone Spurs”, were able to obtain questionable medical reasons for being ‘unfit for duty’.

On the Front Lines

Being unable to obtain these precious deferments, many minorities found themselves on the front lines, taking on the most hazardous, and most deadly, assignments.

During this current crisis, the minority population makes up a disproportionate number of essential workers. This low-skilled labor force comprises supermarket employees, maintenance workers and other jobs that require them to work out of the home and with the public, thus putting themselves, and their families, at greater risk.

Living paycheck to paycheck forces many to accept at-risk jobs simply to survive. As in Vietnam, this puts them on the front lines of this current battle.

Making matters worse, these workers often lack adequate health insurance, a fact made even more difficult by Trump’s refusal to reopen enrollment in Obamacare, and the refusal of many Republican-led states, like South Carolina, to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Thus, these individuals are less likely to seek, much less obtain, proper medical care.

While the evidence is specious, even highly doubtful, it keeps building. It’s a further reflection of societal divisions in our country, divisions between the “haves” and the “have nots.” In this case, it’s literally a question of life or death.

CJ Waldron is an adjunct professor at Horry Georgetown Technical College and a contributing Writer for the Horry County Democratic Party where he covers a variety of Democratic issues, news, and commentary. Opinions and viewpoints expressed in his articles are solely his own.
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