Covid-19 and Race

In the US and elsewhere, ethnic minority groups are hit much harder by COVID-19 than whites. Mortality rates are often more than twice as high for members of these groups.

As a social scientist, I’m not in a position to comment on a possible link between genetic traits and susceptibility to the novel Corona virus. But even I know that the variance of most genetic traits is far bigger within “races” than between “races” (see what I did here?).

Conversely, it is great to see that MDs and other scientists who study the details of our messy biologies are acutely aware of the strong correlation between ethnicity on the one hand and social, political and economic inequality on the other.

Tune in into this episode of the Big Picture Science podcast to hear more about how racialised inequality makes the pandemic worse for some people, and how the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe implemented safeguards of their own.

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