Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress on Tuesday that racism has contributed to African-Americans being disproportionately impacted by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
“Well, I mean, obviously the African American community has suffered from racism for a very, very long period of time,” Fauci replied when asked by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing about whether “institutional racism” is to blame for the disproportionate effects. “I cannot imagine that that has not contributed to the conditions that they find themselves in economically and otherwise. So the answer, congressman, is yes.”
“The answer is yes”: Fauci says he considers institutional racism to be a contributing factor to the disproportionate coronavirus death toll for black Americans https://t.co/ucYEPg3Uc3 pic.twitter.com/8FkeIGr0w8
— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 23, 2020
A recent APM Research Lab report found black Americans account for 24.3 percent of the confirmed U.S. coronavirus, even though the group makes up 12.4 percent of the population.
Asked about statements by President Donald Trump at a campaign rally Saturday that he had asked for a slowdown in testing, Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that neither he nor any other top U.S. health officials have been requested to do so.
“To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact,” he told members the House energy and commerce committee. “In fact, we will be doing more testing.”
The president drew criticism when he suggested spikes in coronavirus cases in several states were due to increased testing.
“Here’s the bad part: When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” Trump said. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’”
Other members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force — including Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir — each answered “no” when similarly asked if they had been instructed to slow down COVID-19 testing.
The UPI contributed to this report.