COVID-19 and climate change: Crises of structural racism

Elsevier, The Journal of Climate Change and Health, Volume 5, 2022, 100092
James P. Healy, Anpotowin Jensen, Maria Belen Power, Bill McKibben, Gary Cohen, Gaurab Basu

Over the past year, as the United States raced and stumbled to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis hummed and roared. In September 2020, we saw Californians don face coverings against the backdrop of a burning orange sky. Masks that were to provide protection against SARS-CoV-2, also blocked out the smog from a historic wildfire season. In February 2021, we watched as countless Texans were left homeless from an unseasonal freeze and inadequate infrastructure. With pipes blown, electricity lost, and houses flooded, a disproportionate number of families of color were forced to cram into emergency shelters with minimal social distancing. As these crises converged and even contributed to each other, a much older crisis reemerged: structural racism and the policy stagnation that refuses to address it. And, so we asked, what are the obligations of our healthcare community lying at the epicenter of such crises?