CDC Director Declares Racism a ‘Serious Public Health Threat’

THE FEDERAL CENTERS FOR Disease Control and Prevention this week declared racism a serious public health threat, one requiring focused attention – and government resources – to combat.

In a statement issued Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky cited the disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color as evidence that racism is an “epidemic” that “directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans” and therefore “affects the health of our entire nation.”

The declaration puts the CDC at the forefront of a growing movement to address racism as a critical health issue. Spurred in part by the disparate effects of the pandemic – and ongoing demand for racial justice after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year – dozens of local and state government leaders and entities have made similar declarations and statements, as have influential organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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