Democrat Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) has claimed that the spread of Covid would have been reduced during the pandemic if slavery reparations had been paid out.
Jackson Lee took to the House floor on Thursday and made the astonishing claim that reparations could have helped contain the spread of Covid.
She made the statement while trying to rally support for H.R. 40, a bill that would establish a congressional commission to study the potential cost and impact of reparations.
She noted that infection rates for COVID-19 had initially appeared to be greater among minority communities than white Americans or the population at large.
Jackson Lee cited a Harvard Medical School study that claims living conditions and work environments in the African American community were more conducive to the rapid spread of the virus.
“There is no doubt we have been impacted, that DNA in the trajectory of slavery to today,” Jackson Lee began.
“For example, Covid.
“Black African Americans have gotten Covid at a rate of nearly 1.5 times higher than that of white people or hospitalized at a rate of nearly four times higher and three times likely to die.
“Covid hit us very desperately.”
She argues that reparations could have moved the needle among African Americans by decreasing the wealth gap and allowing more people to access better health care, better education, and potentially less crowded living conditions.
“Reparations for African Americans could have cut COVID-19 transmission and infection rates both among blacks and the population at large,” the Texas Congresswoman continued.
“Reparations are curative, they’re not punishment.
“The analysis continued to look at data throughout the nation.”
“Wealth is more strongly associated with familial or individual well-being,” said study co-author William Darity, the Samuel DuBois Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Duke University and a Lancet reparations commissioner.
He explained that black Americans have a much lower average net worth than white Americans, adding, “This dramatically restricts the ability of black Americans to survive and thrive.”
REP. JACKSON LEE: "Reparations for African-Americans could have cut COVID-19 transmission and infection rates both among blacks and the population at large." pic.twitter.com/GpgKBr2AHf
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) November 17, 2022
While Jackson Lee’s data was correct for the beginning of the first outbreaks of Covid, it was false to claim that it was true for the entire pandemic.
Black Americans did see higher infection, hospitalization, and death rates in the early months of the pandemic.
However, more recent data show that death rates across racial demographics eventually evened out.
As of October, the death rate among white Americans had “eclipsed” that of other groups, according to data evaluated by The Washington Post.