Note: This thread is related to #Coronavirus #COVID19

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Andy Slavitt @ 🏡+ Your Authors @ASlavitt Ex-Obama health care head. Helper. Host podcast #IntheBubble. Listen: Founded @usofcare & @townhallvntrs. Insta: @andyslavitt. Jun. 02, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

Tonight I am going to provide a brief update on another public health epidemic— being black in America. 1/

Nothing here is a secret to health care researchers or the black community.

Much can be found on #BlackMedTwitter, along w many BIPOC scholars doing important work. I will add a few people to follow at the end. Please add more names. 2/

We must all be aware that the death rate from COVID-19 among African Americans is higher than that of white Americans. These numbers are startling.

African-American deaths are 2x than the share of the population. In 4 states, more than 3x.3/ 

Take a state like Wisconsin where 6% of the population is black. 141 African Americans have died from COVID, 27% of COVID deaths. 4/ 

But this is nothing new. If you’re black, it begins at birth:
-infants are 2x more likely to before their first birthday
-50% more likely to be born premature
-moms are 3-4x more likely to die in childbirth
-Many early childhood illnesses are untreated

Sources follow for all.5/

Disparities pervade virtually every aspect of health, but here are just a few:
-77% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes
-50% more likely to have high blood pressure
-2x more likely to die of heart disease 6/

This is just a taste. The same data can be found on heart disease, asthma, cancer & most any illness you can think of. Because poor access to care & system bias pertain to any illness, as do environmental factors like food deserts, housing & more. 7/

Things like insurance coverage & access to physicians although the ACA and Medicaid expansion have closed some of these gaps, but many remain. 8/

Public health includes treatment by the education, housing & criminal justice system.

-2.17x more likely to be arrested & 5x more likely to be imprisoned
-Whites in the criminal justice system are more likely to be identified as having a mitigating mental illness 9/

To state the obvious, at the heart of health is breathing.

When someone says 16x “I can’t breathe,” as George Floyd did, we are beyond system problems. We are on to every step including not just murder, but torture.

This is not an isolated incident. It is endemic.10/

Life expectancy for African Americans is 3.5 years less than for whites. When zip code & poverty are factored in the difference can be more than a decade. 11/

There’s some really discouraging blame-the-victim theories out there about why we have health disparities. This tweet from @tressiemcphd rebuts them nicely. 12/

There are many great people to follow and I couldn’t even scratch the surface. Hopefully people will add more here.


There are so many many more. 13/

Good reading on the effects of racism— “the assigning of value or opportunity based on race”— is a public health epidemic. 14/

Tomorrow, I will try to lift up tweets if people tag me. 15/



We have so much work to do and many have been screaming about it for their whole careers. Long past time to listen and change. /end

You can follow @ASlavitt.


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