This is a joint publication between the Center for American Progress and the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. The column was co-authored with Darrick Hamilton of the Kirwan Institute.
Authors’ note: CAP uses “Black” and “African American” interchangeably throughout many of our products. We chose to capitalize “Black” in order to reflect that we are discussing a group of people and to be consistent with the capitalization of “African American.”
The new coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, continues to spread quickly, threatening the health and economy of the United States. Since January, more than 8,300 Americans in 50 states; Washington, D.C.; and three territories have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. And many more cases have undoubtedly not been discovered due to a lack of testing. The outbreak of this deadly respiratory illness is especially worrisome for Black, Latinx, and other vulnerable communities.
These communities are disproportionately uninsured or underinsured and have fewer financial resources and employment benefits with which to weather this major public health emergency. Nothing demonstrates this vulnerability more vividly than the dramatic and persistent intergenerational racial wealth gap. The COVID-19 pandemic is another stark reminder that the next administration must address wealth inequality and make asset security a top priority.