- - Wednesday, April 8, 2020

“AOC wants coronavirus reparations for minorities: ‘Inequality is a comorbidity’” (Web, April 3) reports that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared inequality a health condition and said that communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic should receive relief in the form of equitable reparations. This is true, but the piece incorrectly states that AOC has been using “the crisis as an opportunity to push her radical agenda, including universal health care, universal college, guaranteed housing and instituting a living wage.” This statement unfairly attacks AOC rather than highlighting the true issues at hand.

The current global health pandemic is revealing the inadequacies in our socio-economic and health care systems, as millions of uninsured and impoverished individuals are hit physically and socially by the coronavirus. As a public-health student, I study community stressors and health disparities that explain why low-income individuals are prone to chronic conditions ranging from asthma, to obesity, to displacement. Impoverished communities are indeed at greater risk of contracting the virus.

AOC correctly argues that communities plagued by inequality need increased economic relief. Current initiatives, such as the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, only guarantee sick leave to 20 percent of private-sector individuals, and the $1,200 aid is temporary. Corporate-bailout legislation is funneling billions to large corporations in a move AOC has referred to as “preferential treatment.”

In addition to modifying these initiatives, preventive health measures in the form of new shelters and clinics should be instituted in these communities to screen for and treat the coronavirus. That’s how we will move forward as a nation.


San Ramon, Calif.

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