GOPer: Are “Colored” People Hit Harder By COVID-19 Due To Poor Hygiene?
The Dayton Daily News reports that during a June 9 Ohio state senate hearing on whether or not to declare racism a public health crisis, Senator Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) asked if the “colored population” has been hit harder by COVID-19 because they “do not wash their hands as well as other groups.”
Huffman, who is also an emergency room physician, asked the following of a witness during the Senate Health Committee hearing:
My point is I understand African Americans have a higher incidence of chronic conditions and it makes them more susceptible to death from COVID. But why it doesn’t [sic] make them more susceptible to just get COVID. Could it just be that African Americans or the colored population do not wash their hands as well as other groups or wear a mask or do not socially distance themselves? That could be the explanation of the higher incidence?
- The witness, Ohio Commission on Minority Health Director Angela Dawson, replied, “That is not the opinion of leading medical experts in this country.”
- Senator Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland), who is president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, criticized Huffman’s comments as representative of systemic racism.
He highlights what racism is from a systematic perspective. He’s a full legislator but beyond that, professionally, he’s a doctor. When we talk about the health disparities that happen because black folks aren’t believed when they’re actually hurt, they aren’t given the treatment that they need. Do you think that someone who acknowledges the ‘coloreds’ is going to give the love and care that people need when they come through those doors?
Huffman claims that Howse misunderstood his question and that he was only “trying to focus on why COVID-19 affects people of color at a higher rate since we really do not know all the reasons.”
Meanwhile, Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati), who also serves on the Health Committee, claims that the audience cringed at Huffman’s question. He said, “He’s an example of why we have to have this discussion about racism and how it impacts people.”
The Washington Post reported that Huffman was fired from his ER job as a result of the comments:
“Dr. Huffman’s comments are wholly inconsistent with our values and commitment to creating a tolerant and diverse workplace,” McHenry Lee, a spokesman for TeamHealth, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “TeamHealth has terminated Dr. Huffman’s employment.”
Both the Ohio House and Senate have pending resolutions that would declare racism a public health crisis.
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