by Manny Sethi
The national media and the left never allow a crisis to go to waste in their attempts to divide our nation. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of COVID-19 recently found that over 40 percent of those who have been hospitalized are African-American and Hispanic — even though these groups make up a combined percentage of less than 27 percent of the general population. The media makes the claim that these patients are dying at higher rates and contracting the virus due to discrimination.
If there was ever a time to bring our country together, that time is now. But instead when you turn on the television or read the papers, you are hit with nonsense meant to split our nation in a time of crisis. As a surgeon dealing with this crisis firsthand, I have lost personal friends in New York on the front lines, and I have watched families grieve. The truth is this: the media is pointing out statistics, like those from the CDC, and then offering baseless explanations for them.
Here are the facts: this coronavirus preys upon people who are already sick – patients with problems in their lungs or heart, patients with diabetes, folks with immune system issues. Many health disparities exist among our minority populations, especially the diseases mentioned above, that put these communities at a much higher risk to suffer the wrath of the coronavirus. These communities are at a higher risk, not because of any sort of intentional discrimination, but instead because of their existing health challenges.
It is for this very reason that I have traveled the state with my wife Maya over the last ten years taking care of patients with our nonprofit Healthy Tennessee. We are trying to get folks to think about getting on the front side of their own health through prevention. Many places we traveled are food deserts, places with no physicians, and areas with no green spaces or places to take a walk. Our challenge in America is that we spend so much time treating disease, we never talk about prevention and promoting wellness. The healthcare industry will pay $10,000 for diabetes management, but we won’t spend $10 for pre-diabetic education. Those big medical bills certainly make sense for the lobbyists and Washington politicians taking healthcare special interest money, but for everyone else it’s a bad deal – plain and simple.
Preventative healthcare is more critical now than ever before in the face of this coronavirus pandemic. Lack of health education dramatically increases the risk of disease, and if we are to do battle effectively we must get healthy. Basic lifestyle modifications can get our country healthy again, save billions of dollars, and make us stronger in the face of the next pandemic. If we are to truly make a difference in the lives of the African American and Hispanic populations, let’s do something meaningful and tackle these health disparities and focus on prevention. Let’s not let this crisis go to waste.
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Dr. Manny Sethi is a trauma surgeon and conservative outsider running for U.S. Senate here in Tennessee. You can learn more about him at DrMannyforSenate.com
Photo “Manny Sethi” by Manny Sethi.