She added that the pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color because of racism, which she defined as structural barriers that have an impact on the ways different racial and ethnic groups live.
“Over generations, these structural inequities have resulted in stark racial and ethnic health disparities that are severe, far-reaching and unacceptable,” she said.
With this declaration, the CDC will take a variety of steps to tackle racism in public health, according to the statement. Walensky said the agency was using Covid funding to invest in communities of color, as well as other disproportionately affected groups, to address the disparities. The agency also added a new section to its website dedicated to racism and health, with the hope of drawing more attention to the issue.
The American Medical Association, which declared racism a public health threat in November, praised the CDC’s announcement.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately plague Black and Brown communities, it’s clear that collective action from all stakeholders is needed to dismantle systemic racism and confront, embed, and advance equity across our health care system,” Susan R. Bailey, the association’s president, said in a statement.