Per the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, as of June 14, Black Mainers’ rate of COVID-19 infection is an astonishing 22 times the rate of white Mainers. Per 100,000 population, 2,943 black Mainers get COVID-19, versus 133 whites. No other state approaches this level of discrepancy. Where is the outrage?

Blacks who contract COVID-19 are two or more times more likely to die from the disease than whites. There is no biological reason why Blacks would be more susceptible than whites to COVID-19 infection. Race is a social, not a biological, construct. COVID-19 disease is dependent on societal vulnerabilities; it is a result of the decisions our society and state, white-dominated as it is, makes – and stopping it demands we all stand together and make new decisions.

I call on Maine newspapers to raise awareness in Maine of our inherent and inherited systemic racism, and I ask them to look for solutions from within the Black community to better understand what it is we need to thrive as a community and state.

This is not about political opinions; this is about life and death. The solution belongs to all of us. That we are the second whitest state in the nation is no excuse to ignore our Black fellow citizens.

Tim Hughes, M.D.

Belfast

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