New York Times Op-Ed Says “Racism” Should Be Declared a National Public Health Emergency
An op-ed published in the New York Times is calling for “racism” to be declared a national public health emergency, adding that “it would be more than just a symbolic gesture.”
Abdullah Shihipar, a public health researcher at Brown University, wrote the piece published in the Times on Sunday. Shihipar decries the “effects of structural racism” as responsible for the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 disease on non-whites. He argues that the Department of Health and Human Services should declare racism a public health emergency because it would bring “desperately needed relief to communities of color.”
“Under the Public Health Service Act, the declaration would allow H.H.S. to allocate resources and personnel to tackle the issue, much like it has for the pandemic as a whole and for the opioid crisis. For instance, it could allow workers from hard hit communities of color who lost their jobs because they had to take time off after becoming ill to use National Health Emergency Demonstration Grants to find employment,” he writes.
Shihipar acknowledges that designing policies for people of specific races could be legally dubious, but he claims that can be circumvented by “targeting communities rather than individuals.”
He further blames housing discrimination for the “high rates of illnesses” among blacks and Hispanics (he uses the utterly cringe term “Latinx”).
Believe it or not, nearly 200 communities throughout the United States have already declared racism to be a public health crisis, according to the American Public Health Association. This includes eight states, 73 counties, and 104 cities.
“These declarations are an important first step in the movement to advance racial equity and justice and must be followed by allocation of resources and strategic action,” the APHA says.