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There are two pieces of data out today that are very troubling and one may be related to the other.

The first is that African-Americans are both getting COVID19 at higher rates -- but also dying -- at much, much higher rates.

We don't fully understand why.....
Why higher infection rates?

Plausible explanations include less ability to social distance (less ability to work from home based on type of job, more use of public transport, etc.) which increases risk of infection.

By why higher death rate given infection?
One explanation has been higher rates of chronic disease...which I think is likely a real contributor

But another one that has gotten less attention is air pollution.

And that's the second piece of data out today
We know from tons of studies that African-Americans are more likely to be exposed to polluted air (they breathe in, on average, air that is 50% more polluted than non-AA).

And that might be one important part of the explanation for why we might be seeing higher death rates
So what do we do?

First, remember pandemics lay bare deep inequities in our society

For now, we need to support people to stay at home and get people into care early

But we need a long term strategy to curb air pollution which disproportionately harms under-served communities
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