COVID-19 and Distrust in the Black Community
The serious and often deadly nature of the novel coronavirus is widely known at this point. But when statistics were released early on, there were rumors swirling that people of African descent were immune to the disease. This stemmed primarily from the few cases reported in Africa in comparison to the rest of the world… AND from the lack of demographic reporting in the United States.
The article above cites a number of reasons, including inequalities in resources, health and access to care. Reliance on public transit is another factor.
However, there’s an elephant in the room that typically goes unnoticed: medical mistrust.
There’s a saying that those who don’t know their history are destined to repeat it. The Black community is serious about knowing its history, both written and oral.
The Tuskegee experiment, which wasn’t too long ago, proved that the government offered no humane protection to a population if the research was beneficial to larger numbers. Even as recently as 2018, there was a study released that found African Americans are enrolled in clinical trials that don’t require patient consent at a disproportionately high rate.
With videos being shown on social media of patients supposedly being forced to be immunized, of it being suggested to use Africa as a trial location for a vaccine, and of conspiracy theories concerning COVID-19 being the catalyst for “the mark of the beast” and a new world order… Black communities simply aren’t easily trusting. And when you add religious context, “the very elect” is taking every precaution against being fooled.
So, what happens is some Black people don’t get tested out of fear of being quarantined and being victims of medical malpractice, having their religious rights violated, OR being afraid to know their status and “go down.” Most people know of an individual who actively lived, but as soon as they received a terminal diagnosis, their health quickly declined.
However, the difference with COVID-19 is that it is highly contagious! So, with all of these fears, those in the Black community who refuse testing and do not wear masks in public ultimately put everyone around them in jeopardy: their children, their spouses, their coworkers, etc. The fact that one can be asymptomatic but still be a carrier is alarming!
Black people, do yourselves and your families a favor and get tested! It would be a shame for you to have sacrificed all you have for your children, only for them to be killed by a virus you unknowingly brought to them.
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