The fact is inevitable: black and Hispanic Americans were dying from coronavirus at a speed 3.5 times higher than that of white Americans. For several weeks now, politicians and activists have cited this evidence as evidence that “white superiority” does exist, since minorities, they claimed, were more likely to work in low-paying “basic” jobs in grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.,
As it turns out, these theories, which were reported in the mainstream press (including the New York Times and the Washington Post) as irrefutable truths, did not tell the whole story. Although it is true that minorities die more quickly than white people from COVID-19, some recently published studies have determined that these higher mortality rates are likely to be associated with higher use of public transportation for travel to work – or by metro, Either by bus.
In addition, the study found that increased levels of infection and mortality affect all people who use public transportation, regardless of racial or economic status.
A study led and published by University of Virginia economist John Maclaren found that racist discrepancies persist even after controlling for income and health insurance rates. At first, this result puzzled a team of economists. Until they examined these levels of infection through another lens: during transportation.
According to the census, about 10.4% of black passengers use public transport versus 3.4% of white passengers. McLaren and his team found that by controlling the use of public transport, the racial inequality in mortality from COVID-19 becomes much less pronounced.
This suggests that no matter what your job or your race, one of the most dangerous things you can do to put yourself at risk during an outbreak is to rely on public transportation, whether it be buses or the metro, In New York or elsewhere.
A second study, sponsored by MIT Christopher Knittel and Bora Ozaltun, found that for every 10% increase in the proportion of county residents using public transportation, the death rate from COVID-19 is 1.21 per 1000 people. In their analysis, researchers controlled race, income, age, and climate, among other variables.
Both studies clearly show that the use of public transportation is not the only factor leading to mismatch in mortality between minorities and whites in America. Other important factors are access to paid sick leave, community segregation (old urban and suburban areas), and unequal access to health care.
It is important to note that in districts with a higher proportion of people who traveled or went to work compared to those who worked from home, there were also higher mortality rates when other factors were taken into account, which suggests that simply leaving home leads to a sharp increase in the risk of infection, even if studies show that the virus spreads most rapidly between household members or neighbors who live in close proximity to each other.
Read both studies below. First, we have a study led by McLaren ….
…. and a study by Knittel & Ozaltun: