Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most prominent member of the White House Task Force on COVID-19, just compared the weaknesses in healthcare uncovered by the disease to similar disparities in care during the AIDS crisis. Fauci made the comments on the heels of newly-released data that shows African-Americans disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.
“I couldn’t help but sit there thinking about sometimes when you’re in the middle of a crisis, like we are now with coronavirus, it really does … eventually shine a very bright light on some weaknesses and real weaknesses in our society, ” Fauci said during a press conference this morning, according to the New York Post.
“As some of you know, most of my professional career has been defined by HIV / AIDS,” he continued. “And if you go back in time, during this period when there was an extraordinary stigma, especially against the gay community. And it wasn’t until the world understood how the gay community responded to this epidemic with incredible courage, dignity, strength and activism – I think it really changed some of the stigma against the gay community. Absolutely.”
Fauci then went on to draw parallels with COVID-19 and African Americans. “I see a similarity here because health disparities have always existed for the African American community,” Fauci observed. “Here again with the crisis, how it highlights how unacceptable this is because, again, when you have a situation like coronavirus, they are suffering disproportionately…It’s not that they get infected more often, it’s that when they get infected, their underlying medical conditions – diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma – this is the kind of thing that drives them into the ICU and ultimately give it a higher death rate. When this is all over and, as we said, it will end, we will overcome the coronavirus, but there will always be health disparities that we really need to fix in the African American community.”
Fauci’s comments come at a time when the White House has come under wide criticism for its response–or lack thereof–to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for the dissemination of misinformation coming from the President himself.