The Real Racism of the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus was doing its deadly work, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Elizabeth Warren dispatched a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services demanding racial and ethnic data about the sufferers. Why demand information of that sort? Identity politics for profit.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez made that agenda even more obvious by tweeting, “COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities. Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”

New York City’s government had made the death toll much worse by ignoring the coronavirus and focusing on racism instead. New York City Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot had wrongly told New Yorkers that they couldn’t catch the disease on the subway while focusing on her “racial equity lens.”

The racialization of the coronavirus is a cynical attempt to shift the subject from fighting the virus to divisive identity politics. But the “wealth gap” and “environmental racism” are not killing people.

While coronavirus cases have spiked in poorer areas of New York City, they’re highest in the wealthiest areas of Los Angeles. What Beverly Hills and the Bronx have in common isn’t wealth or race.

Why else does Beverly Hills have twice as many cases as Compton?

At the same time, in some places, black people are dying at higher rates than white people. And while lefties reflexively respond to any instance of disparate impact by crying racism, the reasons are more complicated than the cynical political narratives being advanced by Elizabeth Warren or AOC.

The coronavirus hits the elderly hardest. And the elderly are most at risk in multigenerational households. The groups that are suffering the worst from the coronavirus are multigenerational.

Asian people have the highest rates of multigenerational living in the United States at 29%. 26% of African-Americans live in multi-generational households, but only 16% of whites do.

In New York City, a city that has largely lost its white working class, the white multigenerational numbers are far lower. Much of the white population is upscale, young and single. That is a group that is far less vulnerable to the coronavirus than the older multigenerational black families living in the Bronx.

But the coronavirus is also killing the remaining multigenerational white communities in the area.

An Italian-American woman and her three children all died of the coronavirus while four other family members were infected after a family dinner in a high-profile case in nearby New Jersey. Orthodox Jews, who are as likely as Asian-Americans to live in multi-generational household, have also been suffering.

What unites these groups is not racism, but a more traditional way of life.

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