Black people in the United States are more likely to die of covid-19, we’re trapped between the hardship of a deadly virus and a historically racist healthcare system.

Over the last year, the virus exposes the inequality between white people and people of color in the American Healthcare System. According to The Atlantic’s COVID Racial Data Tracker, “approximately 68,000 Black Americans have died of COVID-19, and at 1.4 times the rate of white people.” Health care inequality has done nothing but create a lack of trust towards healthcare workers from Black people. The Black community continues to face disproportionate numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths while experiencing documented barriers to testing and treatment.

Discrimination in the health care system could possibly be the reason white people have been vaccinated for COVID at a much higher rate than Black people. Kaiser Family Foundation’s data states that Black and Hispanic people have received disproportionately fewer vaccine doses in 23 states. In 20 of the states, the amount of vaccinated Black people is half or less than the proportion of Black COVID cases. 

Getting vaccinated is likely the best chance we have to getting back to normal and protecting on another, but many Black people have doubts about a vaccine was produced at ten times faster rate than any other vaccine would be safe to consume. Others state they don’t trust pharmaceutical companies to be transparent about risks and side effects. 

It’s been quite the year for us black folks, but what’s new? Racism and Corona is a double crisis for Black people. Data suggest that Blacks experience chronic illnesses and mental health challenges at higher rates than white Americans, and police brutality is a contributing factor. It has been proven that having negative encounters with the police is associated with higher levels of medical mistrust. 

“We found that when people have a negative encounter with the police, such as the police cursing at them or shoving them, that they are less likely to think medical institutions have their best interests,” said Sirry Alang, PhD, the study’s lead author and assistant professor at Lehigh University, in a press release from the university.

Racial bias in our healthcare institutions, especially in times of a pandemic, is utterly devastating for Black people, especially those who already see more significant disease burdens. The United States now faces a pandemic on a pandemic, with the most virulent of the two being racism.