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Health experts: Disparities in health care between minorities and white Americans are contributing to the spread of the pandemic

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Posted at 10:28 AM, Jan 14, 2021

BALTIMORE — Health experts say disparities in health care between minority groups and white Americans are contributing to the spread of the pandemic and the slow rollout of vaccines.

In terms of the number of cases and the number of deaths, the coronavirus has hit people of color harder than whites.

A new survey from the nonprofit RAND Corporation found that there is still not a consensus view that inequities in health policies are contributing to that disparity.

Researchers have been interviewing more than 4,000 people, to get their opinions.

They say if more people understand that health-care disparities exist, they might be able to convince local, state and national leaders to target more doses of the coronavirus vaccines to more vulnerable populations.

“There is a disproportionate impact on communities of color and so that has to be part of the consideration in terms of prioritization,” said Anita Chaudra, the director of social and economic well-being for the RAND Corporation. “Particularly how those communities are targeted given that we know that in some communities there's a high vaccine hesitancy. So it's really about equitable distribution which is certainly part of the vaccine distribution plans, particularly of the incoming Biden administration.”

Fewer than half of the people who responded to that survey believe that systemic racism is one of the main reasons people of color have poorer health outcomes.