CDC Says Racism is a ‘Serious Threat' to Public Health

“Racism is operating not only with respect to Covid-19 but also with respect to infant mortality, maternal mortality, obesity,” said a past president of the American Public Health Association

US Vice President Kamala Harris, with President Joe Biden (L), speaks to staff as she tours the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 19, 2021.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday called racism a “serious threat” to public health, becoming the latest, and largest, U.S.-based health agency to single out racism as having a “profound and negative impact on communities of color” and contributing to disproportionate mortality rates among people of color, NBC News reports.

“Confronting the impact of racism will not be easy,” the CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said in a statement published on the agency’s website. “I know that we can do this if we work together. I certainly hope you will lean in and join me.”

In its announcement, the CDC noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on ethnic groups. The public health agency added that racial minority groups “experience higher rates of illness and death across a wide range of health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma and heart disease when compared to their White counterparts.”

Other public health agencies and medical organizations have condemned racism in recent months. More than 150 municipalities and state and local health agencies throughout the U.S., as well as the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association, have made the link between racism and public health issues.

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