World

‘Systemic racism’, behind higher African American deaths, says Sanders

Meanwhile, Trump threatens to withhold WHO funding

The senator during a call yesterday: he points to disproportionate number of black deaths from Covid-19 in Louisiana, Wisconsin and Illinois
(Bernie Sanders/Twitch )
US correspondent

Bernie Sanders has denounced the “systemic racism” responsible for the huge disparity of coronavirus deaths among the African American community. Amid growing evidence that people of colour, especially African Americans, make up a disproportionate number of people being infected or killed by the virus, the Democratic hopeful said this was the result of racism embedded in every aspect of society and a “dysfunctional healthcare system”.

“Some 87 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, so many of our people can’t afford to go to the doctor. You are aware that we have a housing crisis, and people who are homeless and all over this country. People are packed into homes and apartments, where there’s just not a whole lot of room,” he said in a live-streamed Town Hall-style conversation.

“You are aware that many people living in cities with food deserts, where people cannot go out and get decent quality food fresh produce.”

He added: “What does that have to do with a terrible pandemic that we are living through right this minute. Well, the answer is, it has a whole lot to do with this pandemic. And it’s a whole lot to do with who lives and who dies in this pandemic. Who gets sick, who doesn’t get sick, who gets treated, who doesn’t get treated.”

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump yesterday threatened to withhold US funding from the World Health Organisation (WHO) beacuse they “missed the call” on Covid-19. 

“We’re going to put a hold on money spent for WHO,” he said during the daily briefing yesterday, before rolling back the statement to say the pulling of funding was up for consideration. 

“They seem to be very China-centric. And we have to look into that so we’ll look into it, we pay for a majority of the money that they get,” the president added.

While Mr Trump said he thought certain programs created by the WHO were worthwhile, he also said the organisation made mistakes, specifically opposing his decision to put a travel ban on China.

Additional reporting by Danielle Zoellner