Following the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis and widespread protests around the country, several health care organizations, including PIDS, have come forward to call out the impact of systemic racism on public health and to press for change. Shared widely via social media and reported by media outlets such as CNN, Newsweek, and The Hill, several of the groups’ statements noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected African Americans, underscoring long-standing structural inequities in the nation’s health care system.

A recent analysis of data from 40 states and Washington, D.C., found that the overall mortality rate for African Americans with COVID-19 is 2.4 times as high as the rate for whites and 2.2 times as high as the rate for Asians and Latinos. One in 1,850 black Americans has died from the disease, compared to 1 in 4,400 white Americans, according to the analysis. African Americans make up 13 percent of the U.S. population but 34 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.

In its statement, PIDS noted that “structural racism is more harmful to the health and well-being of children than infectious diseases, including COVID-19,” and called on members to “mandate change and eliminate systemic bias against all people of color.” PIDS urges all health professionals to acknowledge the ongoing injustices that plague the country and its health care system and to work to address them.