Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) — one of the members of the so-called "Squad" — suggested last week that black people have been disproportionally impacted by the coronavirus, in part, due to the "comorbidities of structural racism."
What did Pressley say?
While speaking with MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell about the coming COVID-19 vaccine last week, Pressley suggested that marginalized communities should be the first to receive access to the vaccine because they are most vulnerable to the impacts of the virus.
"The coronavirus is the third leading cause of death for black Americans," Pressley began.
"So, the most vulnerable and marginalized communities because of the comorbidities of structural racism, because of unequal access to healthcare, because of transportation deserts and food apartheid systems have been the most vulnerable to contracting this virus," she explained.
.@AyannaPressley: Covid disproportionately impacting black Americans because of “the comorbidities of structural ra… https://t.co/PxPf46RK0j— Tom Elliott (@Tom Elliott) 1607705763.0
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm Pressley's overarching point: that COVID-19 impacts black people more than most others.
In fact, black Americans are 1.4 times more likely to contract COVID-19, four times more likely to be hospitalized with complications from COVID-19, and 2.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to white, non-Hispanic Americans.
Hispanics, on the other hand, are just as susceptible to the destruction of COVID-19.
CDC data show that Hispanics are 1.7 times more likely to contract COVID-19, 4.1 times more likely to be hospitalized with complications from COVID-19, and 2.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to white, non-Hispanic Americans.
What is the background?
According to the CDC, adults with "certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness" if they contract COVID-19, including "hospitalization, admission to the ICU, intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death."
Such underlying medical conditions are called "comorbidities," and CDC data show the vast majority — more than 90% — of all COVID-related deaths in America have been of people with comorbidities.
In fact, data show that "for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned," and "on average, there were 2.9 additional conditions or causes per death."