Viral Politics: Coronavirus Now a Racial Issue


Racial politics seem to be everywhere these days, and now they've even become part of the coronavirus pandemic. New media reports tout the virus as more dangerous and deadly for "people of color"--specifically blacks and Hispanics--than for white people. In particular, reporters point to the Hispanic community in Texas, which represents 40% of the state's population but accounts for 49% of its COVID-19 deaths. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner just launched a new month-long effort aimed at testing and education to mitigate COVID-19 in the city's Hispanic community.

As coronavirus cases have risen in Texas, it makes sense that a big part of that would be among Hispanics, since they are about to become the majority demographic group in the state. Streiff, managing editor at Red State, tells KTRH there are many factors at play with virus demographics. "There's no doubt that there are some disparities in how the virus affects the black community, Hispanic community, Asians, and whites," says Streiff. "And there are probably a lot of social reasons for that, like who can work at home and who can't."

Streiff also notes how coronavirus numbers can be manipulated. "If you're testing heavily in minority communities, you're going to skew the result in that direction," he says. "A lot of it seems like (the threat) is more akin to age than anything else...you know, the older you are the harder it's going to be on you."

Ultimately, he believes this racializing of coronavirus is just another part of a larger narrative that's aimed at this year's election. "I think that the virus (and the shutdowns) and the Black Lives Matter thing are all tying together in this," says Streiff. "Both of these movements are attacks on President Trump."

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