In line with the several states that made similar declarations, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and other Democrats introduced legislation on Thursday that would make racism a “public health crisis.”
According to Fox News, Warren joined forces with Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to promote the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, which would therefore put COVID-19 restrictions in the same square as Black Lives Matter protests.
“It is time we start treating structural racism like we would treat any other public health problem or disease: investing in research into its symptoms and causes and finding ways to mitigate its effects,” Warren said in a statement. “My bill with Representatives Lee and Pressley is a first step to create anti-racist federal health policy that studies and addresses disparities in health outcomes at their roots.”
Ayanna Pressley, a member of the squad, said that the federal government has failed to address “structural racism” for long enough.
“For far too long, our federal government has failed to recognize and address the structural racism that has devastated Black and brown communities and denied access to quality health care,” Pressley said. “With the COVID-19 pandemic unveiling and exacerbating racial disparities in health outcomes, it is time we recognize and treat structural racism and police brutality as the public health crises that they are.”
The legislation seeks to create a “National Center for Anti-Racism” at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research and explore racism’s health impacts. It would also create a “Law Enforcement Violence Prevention Program” at the CDC as a bulwark against police brutality. Though the Black Lives Matter protests were an undeniable source of the bill’s inspiration, another was the fact that black Americans were disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Dr. Anthony Fauci stated in the early days of the pandemic, black Americans had a high level of comorbidities that led to higher death rates.
“We have a particularly difficult problem of an exacerbation in health disparity,” Fauci said. “We’ve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma are disproportionally affecting minority populations, particularly African Americans.”
“Unfortunately, when you look at predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with the coronavirus – the things that get people into ICUs, require intubation, and often lead to death – they are just those very comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent in the African American population,” Fauci continued. “So we’re very concerned about that, it’s very sad, there’s nothing we can do about it right now except to try and give them the best possible care to avoid those complications.”
As The Daily Wire reported in August, the states of Michigan and Nevada declared racism a “public health crisis.”
“Today, I also signed an executive directive declaring racism as a public health crisis in Michigan,” Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “We have a lot of work to do to eradicate the systemic racism that black Americans have faced for generations, and it’s going to take time. But the most important thing we can do during this time is work closely with leaders across the state, in every community, to find the root cause of problems and work to eradicate them.”