In the U.S., black people die from disproportionately high percentages of Covid-19. While there are many different factors behind the grim racial inequalities, there is one possible reason that has lurked in the air for decades: pollution.
Decades of housing segregation and discrimination have put black Americans at greater risk of living near chemical plants, factories and highways, exposing them to higher levels of air pollutants. These pollutants have had a chronic negative effect on health, leading to conditions such as hypertension and asthma. Now those same diseases are associated with more severe cases of Covid-19.
According to Robert Bullard, professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University, the combination of racist policy, pollution and corona virus is a deadly mix. “All these things come together, and then you get this pandemic, you get a heat-seeking missile that targets the most vulnerable community. And if it targets that community, we’ll end up with a death bomb. ‘
Watch the video above to learn more about the connections between toxic air, race and coronavirus – and how it all comes together in one Louisiana community called ‘cancer lane’.
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