There are reports circulating that indicate how COVID-19 is specifically targeting African American communities, and there are many contributing factors for this. Of course, with any sort of illness or disease, minority and/or underprivileged populations are always more high-risk due to factors such as the inability to afford or receive adequate healthcare, consuming an unhealthy diet, or even the lack of access to education on how to prevent certain diseases. Here in the United States, new data reveals how African Americans are dying at a higher rate from the virus than other races. “Of the victims whose demographic data was publicly shared by officials — nearly 3,300 of the nation’s 13,000 deaths thus far — about 42% were black,” reports the Associated Press. While many are outraged and choose to place the blame entirely on the system, there are also deeper reasons regarding why this is occurring.
Naturopathic doctor Carlie Bell shares her own perspective on why this may be the case. Underlying health conditions appear to be a main factor, and this could certainly be prevented in the future as Black families adopt more balanced, nutritious, and plant-based diets. “Although we can’t change the hospital systems and we can’t change the unknown biases toward people of color, you can change what you do today,” said Dr. Bell. “If we don’t begin to change our behaviors, change what we eat, and to have an actual paradigm shift in culture, coronavirus isn’t going to be the end of the story.” Although poverty and the system’s prejudices are certainly major factors, it’s time to take back our power and realize that the change begins with us. Otherwise, as Dr. Bell emphasized, the coronavirus will be the least of our concerns in the future.
Today more than ever, we have access to learning about nutrition right at our fingertips. Going fully vegan may not be an option or even a desire for many, but limiting red meat consumption and processed foods is a wonderful start. If you do choose to try out the vegan lifestyle, don’t be discouraged or fall for the misconception that being vegan is only for the privileged and wealthy. Multiple videos and articles share how one can eat a vegan diet for only $30 a week, or less. SweetPotatoSoul, a popular Black vegan YouTuber, is educating our communities for free––as long as you have internet access.
I’ll leave you with some (healthy) food for thought. The slow killer, heart disease, affects African Americans more than any other race. This has been a well-known fact for decades, and yet little change has been observed in statistics. Nearly 48% of African American women and 44% of African American men have some form of heart disease! This is alarming, and should certainly be a cause for concern. Now, imagine if heart disease was a fast and deadly virus. Would we still not take it as seriously? Would we blame the system, or finally begin to incorporate methods of prevention into our lifestyle?
Below, watch Dr. Bell’s eye-opening video on COVID-19’s effect on African Americans.