How Racism Is Shaping the Coronavirus Pandemic

DESCRIPTION: Evelynn Hammonds, who chairs Harvard’s department of the history of science, has spent her career studying the intersection of race and disease. She wrote a history of New York City’s attempt, a century ago, to control diphtheria, and is currently at work on a book of essays on the history of race, from Jefferson to genomics. Hammonds’s area of expertise is especially relevant today: while the data is incomplete, at this point in time, African-Americans represent nearly a third of U.S. deaths from the coronavirus pandemic and thirty per cent of covid-19 cases, despite making up only about thirteen per cent of the population. Hammonds noted recently, “This new development of what has happened with the pandemic with respect to African-American communities” is “perhaps an old development.”



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