Heading into fall, scientists estimate that COVID-19 has been with us for more than half a year. It’s still unclear, they say, when the virus began to infect people in the United States. But this is certain: the coronavirus has harmed Black and Latinx people at higher rates than other groups, according to emerging data. In communities across the country, Black and Latinx people have been three times as likely to become infected and nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as White people.
In response, the federal government, in June, appointed the historically Black Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta to get at the root of this uneven toll. With a $40 million grant, it asked leaders at the medical school to mount a widespread, comprehensive fight against COVID-19 in communities that have been hardest hit. The work that MSM will do with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health over the next three years is historic and massive — and getting underway in the middle of the pandemic.