Donald and Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19. The President of the United States was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland. At press time, there is conflicting news about his condition. But he and his wife receive the best medical care and comforts as well as all those around him that have also tested positive. Quite the opposite of ethnic minorities, the most affected, with more mortality and worse health care. No indications have been found that there is a hypothetical relationship, direct or indirect, of this risk factor with the DNA of each ethnic group. The differences are not genetic, but social.
The President of the United States had always played down the importance of the epidemic that on October 2 took him to a hospital. He planned to quarantine himself in the White House, working to “save lives”, as he declared on July 30, by justifying that he was self-medicating with hydroxychloroquine and recommending injecting bleach and disinfectant to “kill the virus.” His “recommendation” brought more than a hundred unsuspecting people to the hospital who listened to him. Trump is now facing down a wall much higher than the one he wants on the border with Mexico: the wall of evidence.
Like the Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, the British Boris Johnson or the Italian Silvio Berlusconi, Donald Trump joins the list of politicians in denial who suffer firsthand from the infection they refused to acknowledge and which they played down so irresponsibly. Trump has always refused to wear a mask “so as not to give the press the pleasure of seeing me” with my mouth covered. In February, he told Fox Business television that the virus “will die from the heat byApril”. Now, in October, he will have to continue watching from the hospital or from the Oval Office, how the pandemic, according to him “invented” or “exaggerated”, is spreading throughout the country, with almost seven and a half million infected and more than two hundred thousand registered deaths.
In view of these facts, Trump should consider whether it had not been better to be seen with his mouth covered.
Epidemic of social injustices Donald and Melania Trump are subject to all possible medical care, sparing no material and human resources. Just the opposite of what his administration does with the most disadvantaged to whom it has come to deny minimum assistance in many cases. However, infection and mortality rates in the African American population, especially, as well as in other ethnic minorities, reach levels totally disproportionate in comparison with the White population and, to a lesser extent, with the Asian population.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia (CDC), “long-standing and systemic social and healthcare inequalities increase risk of many racial and ethnic minority groups from becoming ill and dying from COVID-19. The term ‘racial and ethnic minority groups’ includes people of color with diverse backgrounds and experiences. But there are some shared experiences among many people within these groups, and the social determinants of health have historically prevented equal opportunities of access to economic, physical and emotional health”.
“There is growing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are suffering a disproportionate effect as a result of COVID-19”, continues the CDC in a report entitled “Considerations on Equal Access to Health and Minority Groups Racial and Ethnic”, based on data from the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases. “Inequalities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty and access to medical care, that affect these groups --the report continues-- are interrelated and influence various outcomes and risks in relation to health and quality of life. To achieve equal opportunities of access to health, it is necessary to eliminate barriers so that everyone has the same opportunities to be as healthy as possible”.
Vaccines, another marginalization The population of Blacks and Hispanics in the United States has twice the risk of testing positive for Covid-19 as Whites. This is determined by a follow-up study of 5,834,543 patients from the Department of Veterans Affairs --the largest integrated health care system in the country--, carried out from February 8 to July 22, and which has been released at the end of September in the scientific journal Plos Medicine.
No indications have been found that there is a hypothetical relationship, direct or indirect, of this risk factor with the DNA of each ethnic group. But the study, which is the largest to date, finds a disproportionate burden of SARS-CoV-2 infection among Blacks.
However, the investigations that are being carried out to find a vaccine against Covid-19 (which, according to Trump, would be available to Americans before the presidential elections) present a serious flaw: precisely Black and Hispanics are the groups with which less is being experimented. Why? Scientific authorities argue that “it is difficult” to reach out to these social groups to collaborate in their investigations.
Once the vaccine is found, it is to be feared that another large gap of social inequality will open. The initial production of the doses will not be sufficient to satisfy demand at once. This foreseeable supply shortage will raise the question: who should get vaccinated first? Public health experts from around the world have proposed in Science magazine a vaccine distribution plan, called the “Fair Priority Model,” to reduce premature deaths and other irreversible consequences of the disease. A model that is committed to “giving priority to the disadvantaged”.
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