Live Well
July/August 2020

The Pandemic’s Disproportionate Effect on Communities of Color

As I wrote in my previous blog post, Covid-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color for many reasons. According to a report by the CDC, “A recent CDC MMWR report included race and ethnicity data from 580 patients hospitalized with lab-confirmed COVID-19 found that 45% of individuals for whom race or ethnicity data was available were white, compared to 59% of individuals in the surrounding community. However, 33% of hospitalized patients were black, compared to 18% in the community, and 8% were Hispanic, compared to 14% in the community. These data suggest an over-representation of blacks among hospitalized patients.” In addition, according to the Covid Tracking Project, while Black people account for 13% of the population, they account for 23% of Covid deaths.

One of the reasons communities of color are disproportionately affected is because Black people, Hispanics and Indigenous people have an increased risk of suffering from inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung and kidney disease, and obesity. While inflammation is the body’s normal (and good) reaction to injury, chronic inflammation can lead to disease and weaken one’s immune system. Inflammation is one of the factors that is increases a person’s risk of getting Covid. Nutrition is a key component of inflammatory diseases: proper nutrition goes a long way in mitigating inflammatory diseases and inadequate nutrition can worsen inflammatory conditions. Many Black, Hispanic and Indigenous people lack access to fresh, healthy foods. In urban areas, communities of color tend to be far removed from greenmarkets and, in rural areas, they live in what are known as food deserts. Children in communities of color who rely on schools breakfasts and lunches have not always been able to receive them during the pandemic. Moreover, many are unable to afford healthy foods and tend to rely on processed foods, which weaken the body’s immune system. In addition, exercise, sleep, and stress management are also key to managing inflammation in the body. For people of color, these are luxuries that are not easily accessible. Another factor that makes the situation worse is that Black people, Hispanics and Indigenous communities don’t have adequate healthcare facilities.

At the root of this are the socio-economic disparities and the institutional discrimination that have left Black, Hispanic and Indigenous people behind (if you are interested in learning more about this, here is an interesting study on inequalities in health). Until we are able to recognize and address these issues, future pandemics will continue to harm the most vulnerable among us the most. For this reason I encourage you to educate yourself on the inequalities in most U.S. systems, and ways you can help create a more equal society.

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FARMS and MARKETS

The Covid-19 Pandemic is impacting many farmers. It is critical to support our local farms when we can. Check out localharvest.org to find farmers markets and farms near you. Click HERE to see some photos from farms and markets I’ve visited in the past few months (including my own garden).

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Learn

Rachel’s Recommended Reading

In this monthly blog post I share with you some interesting articles that I find worth reading:

Here’s a list of groups dedicated to supporting food and land justice for Black Americans. See how you can help: READ

Read this great op-ed about the link between racism and climate change: READ

Like Black and Hispanic communities, Indigenous communities have been severely affected by the Covid pandemic. READ

If you, like me and my daughter, have been cooking your way through quarantine, you will appreciate this piece by Roxanne Gay. READ

The silver lining of the Covid pandemic is that more people are cooking at home. READ

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