Last week, @CamaraJones, @dr_msharma, @doccrearperry and I wrote a Letter to the Editor at the @nytimes in response to @CDCDirector’s January 11th OpEd, “As the New CDC Director, I’ll Tell You The Truth.” The letter was not accepted for the publication, but I’m sharing it below.
Dear Editor,

1 in 735 Black Americans have died from COVID-19 as of January 8. Multiple factors have been implicated in this devastating human toll.  Black Americans are more burdened by chronic diseases, more often frontline workers, and more pressed into overcrowded housing.
But these differences are not happenstances, systemic racism is the root cause. We are disappointed that the new CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky did not explicitly name “systemic racism” as the root cause of the pandemic’s racial health inequities... her January 11th OpEd, “As the New CDC Director, I’ll Tell You The Truth.”
Our leaders must look further upstream and ask why Black Americans are disproportionately made vulnerable, poor, undereducated, sick?
Naming and acknowledging how systems of oppression, including systemic racism, have produced health inequities, even preceding the pandemic, is a critical first step in confronting racial health inequities.

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