Understanding COVID-19 risks and vulnerabilities among black communities in America: the lethal force of syndemics

Tonia Poteat, Gregorio A. Millett, La Ron E. Nelson, Chris Beyrer

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

Black communities in the United States are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and the underlying conditions that exacerbate its negative consequences. Syndemic theory provides a useful framework for understanding how such interacting epidemics develop under conditions of health and social disparity. Multiple historical and present-day factors have created the syndemic conditions within which black Americans experience the lethal force of COVID-19. These factors include racism and its manifestations (e.g., chattel slavery, mortgage redlining, political gerrymandering, lack of Medicaid expansion, employment discrimination, and health care provider bias). Improving racial disparities in COVID-19 will require that we implement policies that address structural racism at the root of these disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Volume47
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Black Americans
  • COVID-19
  • HIV
  • Health disparities
  • Syndemic theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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