Earlier this week, the New York City Board of Health declared racism a public health crisis in a first step towards addressing the staggering health inequalities communities of color faced during the pandemic. of Covid-19. The resolution describes actions for a âracially just recoveryâ and calls on the city to take specific action to address the impact of systemic racism on the health and well-being of people. The steps outlined in the plan range from improving access to health care and education to investing in essential transport and housing infrastructure.
âTo build a healthier New York City, we must confront racism as a public health crisis,â New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said in a statement. declaration. “The Covid-19 pandemic has amplified inequalities, resulting in disproportionate suffering borne by communities of color in our city and across our country. But these inequalities are not inevitable. Today is a historic day for the most the country’s former health board officially recognize this crisis and demand action. “
Colored New Yorkers have historically faced higher rates of HIV, obesity, maternal mortality, mental health issues and physical violence as white residents, and experts say these discrepancies were magnified by the pandemic. New York City is constantly investing in health services in affluent, white neighborhoods, the board said, while neglecting low-income communities. The resolution notes that black and Latino New Yorkers have suffered a disproportionate drop in their life expectancy during the pandemic and are less likely to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The resolution comes six months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared racism “a serious threat to public health” amid the pandemic, reports Rebecca Falconer for Axes.
âThe disparities seen over the past year were not the result of Covid-19. Instead, the pandemic has shed light on inequalities that have existed for generations and revealed an epidemic for all of America. known, but often untreated, impacting public health: racism, “CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a declaration earlier this year.
The board is also asking the city’s health department to investigate and recognize its own history of underinvesting in health programs for residents of color. They demanded that the department âparticipate in a process of truth and reconciliation with communities affected by these actions when possibleâ. The resolution also called on the health department to improve data collection practices and review policies, health codes and budgets that could perpetuate this structural bias, reports Karen Zraick for the New York Times.
Last year, the city’s health service informally recognized that racism was a public health crisis, following the police murder of George Floyd. The recent resolution is a formal request that the agency make a decision series of specific actions to addressing structural racism, according to Jordan Williams for the hill.
âCovid-19 was like a magnifying glass to allow us to see what has already been around for a long time,â said Kitaw Demissie, dean of the School of Public Health at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, at the New York Times. “Now the most important thing is to see its implementation, to see the investment and to see the changes coming.”