Racism declared a public health crisis in one US county
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, racism has also been declared as a public health crisis by officials of Franklin County in the state of Ohio, United States.
The Franklin County Board of Commissioners through a resolution released yesterday, May 19, announced its stance and called on the Ohio governor, House speaker and Senate president to join them in the declaration.
Listed among the several reasons for the decision is that “racism and segregation in Ohio and Franklin County [have] exacerbated a health divide resulting in Black residents having lower life expectancies than White residents.”
“African Americans are far more likely than other races to die prematurely (before the age of 75), and to die of heart disease or stroke,” the Board of Commissioners noted, citing the Health Policy Institute of Ohio.
They added that communities of color, working-class residents and people with disabilities are also most likely to “experience poor health outcomes as a consequence of their social determinants of health,” which are: health inequities stemming from economic stability, education, physical environment, food and access to health care systems.
The board stressed that the COVID-19 data of Franklin County highlights this disparity between African Americans and whites; black residents are hospitalized at twice the rate of other demographic groups.
Data for the state of Ohio meanwhile show that African Americans “are dying at a disproportionately higher rate” from COVID-19.
The commissioners’ resolution comes in support of the Franklin County Public Health officials’ declaration of racism as a public health crisis earlier in May.
“The Board of Commissioners supports all additional efforts in Franklin County the State of Ohio, and nationwide to address racism and public health disparities due to racial inequities,” the commissioners noted. JB
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