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Poverty Kills

Poverty is a Killer

Recently it has been reported that the coronavirus disproportionately affects African American people. That should come as no surprise. African American people are disproportionately affected by many illnesses and events that visit those that have little money. Poverty is a killer.

Not only do we find ourselves in jobs that do not pay much, they often do not have health insurance. That means you only go to the doctor when you really are sick. Worse yet, it might mean a visit to the Emergency Room. You might have to make a decision about do you see a doctor, do you get medicine, or do you buy food for you and your children. The choice can be difficult. And when you buy food it might be more about what you can afford rather than what is healthy. Even the packaging at Food Lion is different than it is at Whole Foods. Does recycled paper make the food taste better than Styrofoam? You can forget about recycling.

It is not hard to find someone in the African American community that is not afflicted with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or some similar malady. All of us have had someone in our family or someone we know who has suffered a stroke or a heart attack. If they are lucky enough to have health insurance, maybe they can recover. Too often it is condition they have to live with.

In the early days of the virus when the world map was shown, African countries were often excluded. The map was colorful but African countries showed no incidences. This led to an erroneous conclusion that the coronavirus did not affect people of color. That was never true. The dark secret was death of Africans was accepted as routine. There was no need to test. Once testing began it became clear that this was a worldwide epidemic that affected everyone.

Since the most affected by epidemic were in the urban areas, it is not only the place where most TV stations are located, they usually have the highest concentration of African American citizens. Try as we may to escape the three-fifths man assessment that has plagued us, it is still true when it comes to earnings. This is even more true when it comes to wealth. The coronavirus has exposed the not so well kept secret that our healthcare system serves the rich more than it does the poor. Although it is no guarantee for survival, being rich means if you have insurance, you have a better chance of being tested and receiving appropriate medical care. Obamacare tried to close this gap but it still left millions uncovered.

I hope everybody who catches this virus lives. But we must do better for those who do not have much. Health care should be available to everybody if we value human life like we say we do. I think the lower the income the higher your chances are to lose your life to the coronavirus and when it comes to money African Americans are at the bottom of the barrel. It must be a legacy of slavery. All I know is that poverty kills.

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