A special, temporary feature during the Covid-19 pandemic, collecting articles of note, with an emphasis on Kansas City
PERIODIC UPDATES ADDED AT THE BOTTOM
A Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic The New York Times, 4/14 A detailed accounting of major events and milestones in the development of the current situation, starting with “Chinese authorities treated dozens of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause” on Dec. 31.
The Racial Time Bomb in the Covid-19 Crisis The New York Times, 4/1 “Pre-existing health conditions leave one group particularly vulnerable.” A prescient article from columnist Charles Blow, who saw clearly what was to come.
Social Distancing Is a Privilege The New York Times, 4/5 “This virus behaves like others, screeching like a heat-seeking missile toward the most vulnerable in society. And this happens not because it prefers them, but because they are more exposed, more fragile and more ill. What the vulnerable portion of society looks like varies from country to country, but in America, that vulnerability is highly intersected with race and poverty. . . . Staying at home is a privilege. Social distancing is a privilege. The people who can’t must make terrible choices: Stay home and risk starvation or go to work and risk contagion.”
Fifty percent of people testing positive for coronavirus in Kansas City are black The Kansas City Star, 4/12 “In Kansas City, black residents make up 50% of the people testing positive for the virus, health department director Rex Archer said this week. That’s despite black people making up only 30% of the population. In Johnson County, 13% of the people testing positive are black, while only about 5% of the population is black, according to local health officials. In Wyandotte County, the coronavirus has ravaged predominantly black church congregations, claiming two lives and leaving others hospitalized.” The article considers causes and consequences of these and related statistics.
Stop Blaming Black People for Dying of the Coronavirus The Atlantic, 4/14 Takes on the many different theories, opinions, and commentators implying that black people are responsible for the conditions that have made them more susceptible to the ravages of Covid-19, making clear that the cause is systemic racism.
Why Coronavirus Is Killing African-Americans More Than Others The New York Times, 4/14 "Federal officials have tied these disparities to individual behavior . . . In truth, black susceptibility to infection and death in the coronavirus pandemic has everything to do with the racial character of inequality in the United States."
Job or Health? Restarting the Economy Threatens to Worsen Economic Inequality The New York Times, 4/27 "Efforts to quickly restart economic activity risk further dividing Americans into two major groups along socioeconomic lines: one that has the power to control its exposure to the coronavirus outbreak and another that is forced to choose between potential sickness or financial devastation. . . . That disempowered group is heavily black and Latino, though it includes lower-income white workers as well.
Many Wealthy Parents Won’t Send Kids Back to School This Fall. That’s a Disaster Waiting to Happen Mother Jones, 4/28 More affluent families, which are disproportionately white, may choose to keep their children out of public schools for the coming year, which would mean less finanacial support for the schools and less racial integration. It would amplify the unequal spread of infection and stereotypes that blacks and people of color are more susceptible. It could also keep away quality teachers.
A new study shows just how badly black Americans have been hit by Covid-19 Politico, 5/5 "Counties across the country with a disproportionate number of African American residents accounted for 52 percent of diagnoses and 58 percent of coronavirus deaths nationally, according to a new study. . . . one of the first to capture the impact on African American populations nationally."
America's Racial Contract Is Showing The Atlantic, 5/8 "If the social contract is the implicit agreement among members of a society to follow the rules--for example, acting lawfully, adhering to the results of elections, and contesting the agreed-upon rules by nonviolent means--then the racial contract is a codicil rendered in invisible ink, one stating that the rules as written do not apply to nonwhite people in the same way. . . . The pandemic has introduced a new clause to the racial contract. The lives of disproportionately black and brown workers are being sacrificed to fuel the engine of a faltering economy, by a president who disdains them. This is the COVID contract."
How the Coronavirus Began as a Disease of the Rich Los Angeles Times, 5/8 Covid-19 is unusual in that the initial infection and spread occurred among the wealthy and middle-classes that could afford international travel. However, those travelers have managed to spread the virus to others in their countries, where it has ultimately hurt vulnerable poor communities the most.
Will the Coronavirus Make Us Rethink Mass Incarceration? The New Yorker, 5/18 Many have argued for decades that the U.S. prison system creates costs and punishments for minor offenders far out of proportion with their crimes, hurting black and minority populations the most, and the Covid-19 pandemic is exposing the dangers--both individual and societal--of those imbalances in new ways.
What Do Coronavirus Racial Disparities Look Like State By State? NPR, 5/30 “Until a few weeks ago, racial data for COVID-19 was sparse. It's still incomplete, but now 48 states plus Washington D.C., report at least some data; in total, race or ethnicity is known for around half of all cases and 90% of deaths. And though gaps remain, the pattern is clear: Communities of color are being hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19.” Delves into the data with discussion.
Black Workers, Already Lagging, Face Big Economic Risks The New York Times, 6/2 "Black Americans have been slightly more likely to lose jobs or income in the recession that took root as states locked down their economies. They are more worried about the financial toll from the virus than white Americans and have far fewer resources available to ride it out, given that they earn less money and have had less ability to build wealth."
COVID-19 Vulnerability Varies by Race and Ethnicity United Community Services of Johnson County, June Shares data that represent "a health disparity, whereby a higher burden of illness, injury, disability, or mortality is experienced by one group relative to another. A complex and interrelated set of individual, provider, health system, societal, and environmental factors contribute to disparities in health. In Johnson County, certain social and economic factors--occupation, health insurance status, and housing - may contribute to the COVID-19 health disparity."
Who’s In Most Danger From COVID-19? Mother Jones, 6/16 "And there’s yet another confirmation that COVID-19 has hit people of color far more heavily than white people: [chart]. The incidence of COVID-19 among non-white populations is nearly 3x that of the white population."
Black Communities Face Wider Food Shortfalls as Covid Saps Jobs Bloomberg Government, 6/16 "Black households already experienced the highest racial rate of food insecurity before the pandemic hit: 21.2%—more than double the 8.1% among White households, the Agriculture Department says. The situation has since worsened: 45% of Black adults said they’ve skipped meals, or relied on charity or federal food assistance since February, compared with 18% of White adults, the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy nonprofit, found."
Coronavirus Is Hitting Black Business Owners Hardest The New York Times, 6/18 Early evidence shows the pandemic is disproportionately hurting black-owned small businesses. More than 40 of black business owners weren't working in April, compared to 17 percent of white. The nature of their businesses makes it more difficult for them to take adaptive measures and they are benefitting less from federal stimulus programs.
The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus The New York Times, 7/5 "Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups."
Virus, Floyd Death Merge in Brutal Blow to Black Well-Being AP News, 7/5 "In a matter of months and nearly 8 minutes, it became clear that institutions designed to ensure the two most important things in life — health and safety — had converged to turn against one segment of the population in stark, horrific ways."
GENERAL DATA SOURCES
The COVID Racial Data Tracker Updated regularly The COVID Tracking Project is a volunteer organization launched from The Atlantic and dedicated to collecting and publishing the data required to understand the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. The COVID Racial Data Tracker is a partnership between the COVID Tracking Project and the The Antiracist Research & Policy Center that collects, publishes, and analyzes racial data on the pandemic within the United States.