How COVID-19 Exacerbated Inequities in Health Care for the BIPOC Community

Next Avenue: How COVID-19 Exacerbated Inequities in Health Care for the BIPOC Community, August 31, 2021

The coronavirus has been particularly devastating for people 65 and older. They represent a sixth of the population, but are among those hardest hit by the virus and its complications.

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the virus hits older Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) even harder. One of the biggest reasons is the wealth and income gap. Generations of racist policies have stoked inequality in the BIPOC community and many in it cannot catch up to their white counterparts. The pandemic has intensified these challenges. And for many, overcoming those gaps is now a matter of life or death.

“This country has racialized poverty,” said Denny Chan, directing attorney for the nonprofit Justice in Aging — a nonprofit advocacy organization fighting poverty among aging adults. “[Class and race] aren’t proxies for each other, but they also are so deeply intertwined that you can’t talk about one without talking about the other.”

“The decades of racism and discrimination and intergenerational poverty — it builds up on one another so that the disparities are particularly massive among Black or Latinx older adults, and other older adults of color, compared to white older adults,” Justice In Aging staff attorney Gelila Selassie said.

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