By Justine Coleman, THE HILL, 08/26/20
Pope Francis said during his weekly address on Wednesday that the Coronavirus pandemic has “exposed and aggravated” social inequalities around the world.
The pope pointed to equity gaps within workplaces, schools and government programs tasked with alleviating the economic downturn caused by the virus, The Associated Press reported.
Francis noted that not all people can work from home, and school has been “abruptly interrupted” for some children while others continue their education. He added that “some powerful nations can issue money to deal with the crisis,” thus “mortgaging the future for others.’’
“These symptoms of inequality reveal a social illness. It is a virus that comes from a sick economy,” he said, according to the AP. “It is the fruit of unequal economic growth that disregards fundamental human values.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that racial and ethnic minority groups are more at risk of being seriously ill or dying from COVID-19 due to “long-standing systemic health and social inequities.”
CDC statistics from Aug. 18 indicate that Black people are 2.6 times more likely to contract coronavirus, 4.7 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.1 times more likely to die from the virus when compared to white people. Latino people are 2.8 times more likely to be infected, 4.6 times more likely to be hospitalized and 1.1 times more likely to die.
American Indian or Alaska Native people are also 2.8 times more likely to become infected, 5.3 times more likely to be hospitalized and 1.4 times more likely to die.
The U.S. has confirmed more than 5.7 million COVID-19 cases, leading to at least 178,538 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Internationally, almost 24 million cases have been recorded causing 820,286 deaths.