Slavery reparations could have reduced Covid infections and deaths, Harvard study says

A Harvard study has claimed that slavery reparations could have reduced the Covid-19 death toll of Black Americans, who have been disproportionally affected by the virus.

The study, a collaboration between researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Lancet Commission on Reparations and Redistributive Justice, looked at how reparation payments would have affected coronavirus transmission in Louisiana.

The state was chosen as it was one of a few areas in the US that reported coronavirus cases by race from the start of the pandemic in March 2020, and because the population is still “highly segregated” between Black and non-Black residents, according to the study.

The researchers compared the start of the pandemic in Louisiana to the same period in South Korea, which the study said was chosen because it does not have a “large, segregated subgroup of the population composed of the descendants of enslaved persons.”

Researchers studied the figures for the average amount of people a person spread Covid-19 to in both areas, while accounting for social structures, behaviour and other risks.

They made their comparison by using a model that would pay $250,000 (£180,278) in reparations per person and $800,000 (£576,948) per household and compared the first two months of the pandemic in both areas.

The model found that Louisiana fared much worse in tackling the pandemic, and claimed that if reparations had been introduced in the state before the virus hit the US then the coronavirus transmission rate would have been reduced.

The study found that reparations would have lessened the equity gap between white and Black people in Louisiana, causing the Covid-19 transmission rate to be reduced from 68 per cent to 31 per cent for residents of all races.

Research from the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that Black communities, alongside Native American and Hispanic people, are four times as likely to be hospitalised than white Americans from Covid-19.

Dr Eugene Richardson, an assistant professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, explained to CNN in an email that the reason for the higher proportion of Black people contracting coronavirus is because of structural racism.

Black Americans are overrepresented in jobs that carry more risk during the pandemic as they are customer-facing, such as health care and food service.

The study claimed that reparations would have narrowed the wealth divide between White and Black Americans, which would have caused greater similarities in figures of racial groups working in front-line roles.

“These risks are structural – that is, not determined by personal choice or rational assessment,” Dr Richardson wrote about contracting Covid-19.

“Our study simply gives yet another example of how racism gets into people’s bodies and makes them sick, which can be added to this litany (of evidence for reparations),” Dr Richardson added.

Civil Rights advocates have long argued that reparations should be paid to descendants of slaves to help tackle the inequalities faced by Black people in America.

On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will host a hearing to discuss the creation of a commission that would explore reparations for Black Americans.

The subcommittee will discuss HR 40, also known as the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, which was first introduced in 1989.

If it is passed, the commission would “examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Louisiana has recorded more than 420,000 coronavirus cases and at least 9,325 deaths.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 27.7 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 488,081.


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One Response to “Slavery reparations could have reduced Covid infections and deaths, Harvard study says”

  1. Wake Up Fools Awake Goyim says:

    I love a good hoax

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