She added that the pandemic had disproportionately affected communities of color because of racism, which she defined as structural barriers that impact how different racial and ethnic groups live.
“Over the generations, these structural inequalities have resulted in serious racial and ethnic disparities in health that are serious, deep and unacceptable,” she said.
With the statement, the CDC will take various steps to address racism in public health, the statement said. Walensky said the agency was using Covid funding to invest in communities of color, as well as other disproportionately affected groups, to address disparities. The agency has also added a new section to its website devoted to racism and health, hoping to draw more attention to the issue.
The American Medical Association, which declared racism a public health threat in November, welcomed the CDC’s announcement.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately strike black and brown communities, it is clear that collective action by all stakeholders is needed to dismantle systemic racism and to confront, mainstream and advance the equity in our health care system, ”Susan R. Bailey, the association’s president, said in a statement.