CDC Director Declares Racism a “Serious Public Health Threat”

CDC Director Declares Racism a “Serious Public Health Threat”
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In this latest edition of Mad Libs Politics, we’re informed by the Centers for Disease control that racism is a “serious public health threat.”

According to the Post Millennial:

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky posted a statement on the agency’s website yesterday, citing racism as a cause of “health inequities, health disparities and disease.” 

She added that the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color. Walensky continued, “Yet, the disparities seen over the past year were not a result of COVID-19,” Walensky wrote. “Instead, the pandemic illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism.” The director added, 

“What we know is this: racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans. As a result, it affects the health of our entire nation. Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in community. These social determinants of health have life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of individuals in communities of color.”

Oddly, at no point in U.S. until exactly Thursday, April 8th 2021 was racism a public health threat in the CDC’s eyes.

Most accusations of “medical racism” focus on comparing health outcomes between whites and African-Americans. Whites tend to have better health outcomes, and the difference is automatically attributed to racism. This kind of reasoning is easily debunked simply by including Hispanics and Asians into the data set, as both groups have better health outcomes than Whites (and Hispanics do so despite a smaller share of their population being insured, and having lower average incomes than Whites).

The CDC has already proposed fighting imagined racism with actual racism. In November they released a serious of proposed distribution plans for the coronavirus vaccine, with “promoting justice” being taken into consideration alongside the goals of “maximizing benefits and minimizing harms” and “mitigating health inequities.” The CDC divides the U.S. into three groups to get vaccinated in the report – those age 65+, those with preexisting health conditions, and essential workers.

While the CDC doesn’t explicitly frame this on racial grounds, since essential workers are more likely to be people of color, this quest for “justice” prioritized them above those age 65+ to receive the vaccine in their points system to determine eligibility. Fortunately that suggestion wasn’t implemented, but if it was, it would’ve been despite the CDC’s own report finding it to be the least effective way to vaccinate the population.

Dr. Walensky’s judgement as CDC director hasn’t been great, despite her short tenure so far. At the end of March she warned of “impending doom” during a CDC briefing, saying that she as going off script to say this while looking at her computer screen as if she were reading from a script. While this is obviously subject to change, active coronavirus cases fell slightly from 6.96 million on the day of her comment to 6.87 million on April 8th, and daily deaths have remained flat.

Of course, with Walensky in charge of the CDC, everyone else can’t be faulted if they have feelings of impending doom.

Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New YorkDebunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate


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