Officials in Ohio have declared racism a public health crisis in the state’s embattled Franklin County, where twice as many black people are hospitalized for COVID-19 than other races, despite being a minority of the population.
A public health declaration and resolution was passed on Tuesday by commissioners in Franklin County along with a 10-step plan to address racism in the health system, housing and education.
The resolution was a part of the 2019 Rise Together Blueprint effort to address poverty in Central Ohio that was first announced last year, well before the coronavirus struck.
‘Racism has been a pandemic long before the current coronavirus pandemic,’ Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce said in a statement.
‘Our declaration today is important, but it’s not saying anything that hasn’t been apparent for a long time. COVID-19 has highlighted the health divide between black and white Ohioans, however, and I hope that it can be the catalyst we need to reform the whole health system so that it works for all of us equally,’ he added.
While black residents make up just 23 percent of the population of 1.3million in Franklin County, they are hospitalized at twice the rate of other demographic groups, according to the commissioner report.
Preliminary data from Ohio suggests they are dying at a disproportionately higher rate from the disease, according to the commissioners.
In mid-April 20 percent of all of Ohio’s coronavirus cases where African Americans – who make up just 12 percent of the population, according to the Columbus-Dispatch. Whites, by comparison, make up 79 percent of the state’s population but accounted for 52 percent of the COVID-19 cases, at that time.
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Source: Daily Mail