TIME

How racial hierarchy kills

THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS AND THE KNEE THAT Derek Chauvin casually placed on George Floyd’s neck for close to nine minutes have shown the exact same thing: there is a racial hierarchy in the U.S., and people of color—particularly black people—are at the bottom of it.

At this point, several months into the pandemic, most people are aware that COVID-19 has disproportionately killed black people in the U.S. In Louisiana, black people account for more than 53% of those who have died from COVID-19, although they make up only 33% of the population in the state. In Cook County, Illinois, they have made up 35% of the county’s COVID-19 deaths while constituting 23% of the population. In New York City, which was until recently the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., preliminary statistics show that the COVID-19 mortality rate for black people was 92.3 per 100,000 people. For white people, however, it was less than half of that: 45.2 per 100,000 people. These numbers make clear that the novel coronavirus is not a

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