How common is COVID-19 related discrimination?
How common is COVID-19 related discrimination?

How common is COVID-19 related discrimination?

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New research shows that COVID-19-related discrimination is very common among people belonging to certain racial and ethnic groups, such as Asian, American Indians / Alaska Natives, Latino and Hawaiian / Pacific Islanders. Kilito Chan / Getty Images
  • In one study, people who belong racially and ethnically minorized groups, along with other marginalized groups, reported experiencing COVID-19 discrimination during the pandemic.
  • The authors of the study accompanying the study assumed that “both structural racism and intensification of in-group / out-group perceptions would lead to higher rates of COVID-related discrimination” in these groups compared to white individuals.
  • Study respondents reported that others appeared to be afraid of them due to unfounded suspicions of infection.
  • The people who were the most discriminated against were Asians, Asian Americans, and Indians and natives of Alaska.

In the United States, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people in historically marginalized groups compared to white, non-Hispanic American adults. People in such groups have one higher risk infection, hospitalization and death due to socio-economic pressures and inadequate access to health care, which are long-term by-products of racism and discrimination.

A study conducted by researchers for a new study has revealed that many members of minority groups experience widespread COVID-19-related discrimination.

The study comes from researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. According to an NIH Press release:

“The investigation asked whether participants had experienced COVID-19-related discriminatory behavior, such as being called by names or insulted, being threatened or harassed, or hearing racist comments because the perpetrator believed the participant had COVID-19.”

The results of the study are shown in American Journal of Public Health.

The lead author of the study is an NIH employee Dr. Paula D. Strasslewho explained to Medical news today:

“Structural racism is deeply rooted in our country’s history. It has been relatively well accepted that economic uncertainty and stress increase racial divisions due to (perceived) competition for limited resources.”

“Because of this,” Dr. continued. Strassle, “we assumed that both structural racism and the intensification of in-group / out-group perceptions would lead to higher rates of COVID-related discrimination among racial / ethnic minority groups compared to white adults., As well as other population groups who have been marginalized – such as those with limited English or lower income – in the United States “

Dr. Strassle noted that the study confirmed the researchers’ expectations, but said:

“We were surprised at how common COVID-related discrimination was, especially among adults from Asian, Native American / Alaska natives, Latinos and Hawaiian / Pacific Islanders. Our estimates were almost twice as high as previous studies. However, we were not surprised. that COVID-related discrimination took place among all racial / ethnic minority groups, despite the fact that most COVID-related discrimination media focused on Asian and Asian American communities. “

Prof. Yao Lu from the Department of Sociology at Columbia University, NYC, was not involved in this study but has previously conducted similar research. She told MNT:

“I am not surprised by the results. Their results are consistent with ours PNAS paper that COVID-19-associated discrimination has extended beyond East Asians to influence South Asians and Latinos. We also find evidence of rising xenophobia triggered by the pandemic. During disease outbreaks, out-groups, especially groups that are perceived as foreign, are often considered carriers of pathogens. “

Of the people who participated in the study, 22% reported having experienced COVID-19-related discrimination. All racial / ethnic and other minority groups were more likely to have experienced discrimination than white, non-Hispanic people.

Nearly half of those surveyed in the survey, at 42.7%, said people seemed to be scared of them.

The groups that reported the highest number of difficult encounters were Asians and Indians and Alaska natives. People who identified as Latino, Pacific Islander or Hawaiian also experienced a greater amount of discrimination.

The study showed that “limited English skills, lower education, lower income and living in a big city or the East South Central Census Department also increased the incidence of discrimination.”

The East South Central Census Department consists of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

“For our study,” said Dr. Strassle, “we were interested in looking at how common experiences of (perceived) COVID-related discrimination were in the United States, rather than assessing how many people discriminate against others. We plan to follow up on our initial analysis by looking at the impact of COVID-related discrimination on mental health and health utilization, as well as other health outcomes during the pandemic. “

The authors of the study write:

“Given these findings, it appears that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing anger against racial / ethnic minority groups in the United States. Future studies, and public health efforts focused on COVID-19-related discrimination, should explicitly include all major racial / ethnic groups, as most appear to be as at risk as adult Asians, but so far have been largely ignored in anti-discrimination efforts. “

Dr. Strassle saw the investigation as a necessary start, he says MNT:

“While our study was not designed to identify interventions that could reduce discrimination in the United States, the first step to solving any problem is to identify that the problem exists. Our study, as well as the others that have attempted to measure COVID- related discrimination, has made it clear that it is a major concern for racial / ethnic minorities and other marginalized groups in the United States. “

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