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COVID-19 is not spreading over a level playing field; structural racism is embedded within the fabric of American culture, infrastructure investments, and public policy, and fundamentally drives inequities. The same racism that has driven the systematic dismantling of the American social safety-net has also created the policy recipe for American structural vulnerability to the impacts of this and other pandemics. The Bronx provides an important case study for investigating the historical roots of structural inequities showcased by this pandemic; current lived experiences of Bronx residents are rooted in the racialized dismantling of New York City’s public infrastructure and systematic disinvestment. The story of the Bronx is repeating itself, only this time with a novel virus. In order to address the root causes of inequities in cases and deaths due to COVID-19, we need to focus not just on restarting the economy, but on reimagining the economy, divesting of systems rooted in racism and the devaluation of Black and Brown lives.


This is the author's manuscript of an article originally published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, available at DOI: 10.1215/03616878-8641481

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