October 22, 2020

Odds of coronavirus infection greatly increase with poverty, CDC says

Poverty can vastly increase a person’s chances of contracting the coronavirus, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, which looked at income-based disparities in Utah, found that the risk of becoming ill with the disease in a low-income community could be three times greater than in a high-income one.

“Extreme deprivation could compound transmission,” the CDC concluded.

The findings confirm a growing body of research that suggests the coronavirus is more likely to afflict people of color and low-income communities than it is wealthier white people. Poverty and race are inextricably related, a fact that the CDC acknowledged by noting that deprivation “could exacerbate the ethnic and racial inequalities” that have been exposed by the pandemic.

Testifying before Congress in the spring, Ibram X. Kendi, a scholar on racism at Boston University, told lawmakers that a “racial pandemic” was at work alongside the pathogen itself.

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