Sandra Quinn
April 13, 2020

Minorities have less access to health care, and constant "weathering" from discrimination batters their health, Sandra Quinn told Science Magazine in a Q&A.

Quinn said that the impact of COVID-19 on minority populations doesn't surprise her, but she is frustrated that more hasn't been done to fix the factors that make minority groups vulnerable.

After the H1N1 flu epidemic, Quinn published a study that found that the virus hit Black people and Hispanics particularly hard. 

"We were stunned by minority groups’ inability to do social distancing because of where they live and work. It was profound," Quinn told Science Magazine. The researchers also found that chronic disease, disparities in access to health care and discrimination made African Americans more susceptible to H1N1. 

Quinn explained that we have to find ways to help people stay home, like sick leave, and reducing the number of people who are uninsured. We also need community health workers to communicate with high risk individuals. 

"Some governors are making sure people get free [coronavirus tests] and that kids get free and reduced lunches," Quinn said. "I applaud those efforts but they are Band-Aids that do not cover the gaping wound."

And if we don't address these issues, there will be consequences, Quinn explained.

"We have moral and ethical reasons to care about everyone," Quinn said. "But there is a practical reason— the health of the least among us affects all of us." 

Related Links

Science Magazine: How can we save black and brown lives during a pandemic? Data from past studies can point the way

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Sandra C. Quinn