As evidence emerges showing that the African American population has been disproportionately hard-hit by the new coronavirus infections, US bishops urge state and national leaders to examine and tackle the structural conditions underlying this reality.
By Linda Bordoni
“Our hearts are wounded,” US Catholic bishops say, “for the many souls mourned as African American communities across the nation are being disproportionately infected with and dying from the virus that causes Covid-19.”
“We raise our voices,” they continue in a statement released on Monday, “to urge state and national leaders to examine the generational and systemic structural conditions that make the new coronavirus especially deadly to African American communities.”
Minority populations hardest-hit
As nations and communities continue to battle the emergency, evidence has emerged showing that infections from the coronavirus are disproportionately high in areas with high minority populations, and it reveals the devastating emotional toll the virus is taking on African and Latino Americans.
A poll from Fordham University also notes that African Americans are more likely than either white or Latino Americans to be on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic with higher proportions still required to show up to a workplace, and higher rates of reported personal infection, and of the death of someone they personally know.
Released in the wake of this evidence, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement is signed by Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, chairman of the Conference’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and by other prelates engaged in Domestic Justice and Human Development, in Cultural Diversity and in African American Affairs.
Support of the bishops
It says the bishops “Stand in support of all communities struggling under the weight of the impact this virus has had not only on their physical health, but on their livelihoods.”
It notes that amongst those particularly hard-hit are “front line medical and sanitation workers, public safety officers, and those in the service industry.”
The US bishops conclude saying they are “praying fervently for an end to the pandemic, and for physical health for all, and emotional healing amongst all who have lost loved ones.”
To date, 1,213,010 coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States The death toll stands at 69,925 and 188,068 infected persons have officially recovered. A poll conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago says that a substantially higher percentage of African American respondents report having been diagnosed with the virus.