St. Louisans learned last Wednesday that all of the first 12 coronavirus victims in the city were African American. As of Saturday morning, five additional deaths had been reported in the city, including an African American man and woman — meaning that African Americans comprised over 80% of the city’s reported deaths. This announcement follows reports of similarly troubling racial disparities in pandemic-related deaths across the country.
As social scientists who study racial inequalities in health and social outcomes, we are saddened but not surprised by these numbers. Certainly, contemporary factors must be taken into account in interpreting these disparities, but we also must not forget the important role the nation’s history continues to play in the present.
Read the full piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.