Friday, April 24, 2020

Learn How The Coronavirus Is Exposing The Deadly Consequences Of Unequal Access To Healthcare By Blacks

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By JV Howard

These are grim, quarantined, and unprecedented times occurring in places by the most unlikely mutant - COVID19 AKA The novel Coronavirus.

Let’s cut to the chase - these are extremely trying times as there has been many like this throughout our history, especially the black community. Yet, no matter the circumstance, gravity of challenge, or threat to our modus vivendi, modus operendi, and life we find ourselves at the same place and the same time.

Where are we? We are steadfast in a - PERFECT STORM...which is a rare combination of events or circumstances creating an unusually bad situation. In this case the storm can be characterized as a biological Armageddon where a virus with stealth-like features catapults from animals (likely a bat) to humans. 

With a  plethora of missteps as precedent make no mistake this biological Armageddon will usher in a “game changing fallout” equal to its once in a every 100 years predictability.  What makes this - COVID19 pandemic - a component of a perfect storm:

(1) the likely hood of gross leadership incompetence occurring in...
(2)  the same cycle with
(3) global malfeasance.

We saw this coming and ignored it, we watched it move across the globe with cloaked apprehension behind a penchant for rationalization -  it won’t get us. Now the epicenter is here  from Wuhan, China to - I love NY.

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A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

The whole big - data thing is supposed to position man ahead of the curve of epidemic, pandemic, or any global catastrophe. The Bubonic Plague, Smallpox, Yellow Fiver, Spanish Flu, HIV/AIDS, SARS, MERS, and Ebola served as lessons.

As of now, because the epicenter keeps moving, big data analytics have gone viral - no pun intended - with nightly breaking news of stats, tables, PowerPoints, spins, finger pointing, and misinformation; not to mention serious number crunching of how many are dying, will die, and likely to die. The most important numbers to remember: six feet apart or six feet under.

Despite the analysis surrounding COVID-19 the government with little explanation no longer obligates hospitals to count the demographic of those diagnosed and treated. Why? Again no explanation. It so happen, ironically, in a census cycle, they - the same government - expect an account of your household but not your hospitalization. I surmise its an out of sight out of mind policy.

While all the focus has been on flattening the curve of those affected and uncovering COVID19 stealth attributes - to remain undetectable - another curve divulged a spike - the impact of COVID19, disproportionately, on African Americans. This recurring trend and unwarranted cultural signature is nothing new to the black community despite its scary and ominous overtures. Pandemic playbooks, as demonstrated in HIV/AIDS and SARS, usually highlight systemic levels of bias treatments at the same time flattening the curve for others raises the line for African Americans.

During HIV/AIDS, SARS, MERS, or any life threatening challenge African Americans have always incurred unfavorable statistics because policies prevail based on race and class bias in the health care system. The Affordable Care Act sought to recalibrate this issue. Health coverage via Obamacare didn’t guarantee good health outcome but it sought to supplant bad guidelines limiting choices . Without health coverage, people often forgo regular doctor’s appointments, can’t afford prescription medication, and delay care. These concerns has almost nothing to do with alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or Big mama and Pops... Mr. Surgeon General!

When whites 
catch a cold, black folks get pneumonia." That’s a folk saying in the black community (the place) that reflects a historical pattern: Whenever a disease afflicts America, it hits black America even harder. Black people are more likely than other Americans to have underlying health issues like diabetes, heart disease and lung disease. Blacks also are statistically more likely to live in poverty with less access to health insurance.

This helps explain why blacks have been disproportionately victimized by HIV and AIDS. African Americans make up 13% of the US population but accounted for 42% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2018 - same thing.

Pernessa Seele - saw when AIDS first devastated the black community in the late 1980s - as an immunologist at a Harlem hospital. 
She says she is “seeing a similar pattern now as the coronavirus ravages Chicago, New York, Detroit, New Orleans and other places.” For blacks, already more likely to die from HIV/AIDS than any other group in America, “it’s a double pandemic” according to Dr. Steele — two lethal and incurable viruses hitting at the same time.

“This coronavirus is treacherous, and it is relentless,” says Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm in Gilead, Inc., a nonprofit that works with faith communities to eliminate health disparities. “It doesn’t care if you have HIV. It’ll fight with HIV for you — two viruses for the control of your death.”…at the same place.

In this world wind crisis we are reminded, as history will note, that some things change and some things don’t, but in the black community the narrative translates into same thing, same place, at the same time.

The article ideas expressed are those of freelance commentator JV Howard and may not be totally reflective of Scoop publications.  You can reach JV Howard at:

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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1 comment:

  1. Why does it always seem black people are living in the twilight zone yet black leadership is absent to defend us on the front line. As a result we end up with the same thing at the same time as JV Howard so eloquently laid out for us. Leadership means going down with the ship not. abandoning it!


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