Rep. Jon Santiago Says Data Shows Coronavirus Is Hitting Black And Latino Communities Harder
Massachusetts state representative Jon Santiago, who also works as an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center, told Emily Rooney on WGBH News’ Greater Boston Thursday, that the black and Latino communities in Massachusetts have been affected by the coronavirus at higher rates than white communities.
“I think if you just look at the data it will speak for itself,” Santiago said about the disparity. Data released by the City of Boston last week showed that in the number of cases in Boston where race was identified, 40 percent were black. Black residents only make up 25 percent of Boston’s population.
The Massachusetts Department of Health released similar numbers last week, showing that black and Latinos made up 37 percent of the cases in the state where race was identified. Santiago said he was not shocked to see this imbalance, especially at the Boston Medical Center.
“At Boston Medical Center, we are a safety net hospital, so we traditional treat black and brown communities, but we are seeing people come in with not just your heart attacks, your strokes, your accidents, but with high instances of coronavirus,” he said. “That should be no surprise to anyone who’s worked in this area before. These are communities that have been affected with significant health equities long before COVID-19 was here. They have high rates of diabetes, lung disease, pollution, poverty, and that’s going to result in significant increase in COVID-19 which we are seeing here today.”
After the numbers were released last week, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that a task force would be established to combat racial disparities in coronavrus cases in Boston.