COVID-19 has worsened racial issues in the United States, according to the annual ‘State of Black America’ report released on Thursday.

The report, prepared by long-standing civil rights organisation National Urban League in association with the Brookings Institution, John Hopkins Center for Health Equity and Center for Policing Equity, analysed the devastation in black communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Structural racism is not new to many of us. For centuries and even today, Black lives continue to be subject to laws, policies and practices that have created and sustained systematic oppression that impacts every facet of our lives," said Tracie Kessee, cofounder and senior vice-president of social justice at Center for Policing Equity.

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The report asserts that COVID-19 has brought flaws in the US healthcare system to the fore.

The research cites data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention which show that black and brown victims are disproportionately dying from the virus, compared to other white populations.

Black individuals are two times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who are white, and Hispanics 2.3 times more likely, as per the CDC.  

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Moreover, despite a similar percentage of black and white Americans being vaccine hesitant, vaccination rates are significantly lower among Black populations. The disparities in vaccination rates indicate iniquities in vaccine distribution, the report goes on to say.

The report also found that Black people are more likely to live farther away from vaccination centres than white people.

The State of Black America report also throws light on economic inequalities which too worsened due to the pandemic. According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank, a typical Black household has 15% of the median wealth of the typical white household and Black workers face major pay gaps in the workforce.

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During the pandemic, nearly 17% Black households lacked the basic financial services, compared to 3% of white households, according to the Brookings Institution.

The National Urban League experts said that existing inequalities can be fixed by closing the racial wealth gap, reparations and more.