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US 'viral underclass' suffer more from COVID-19: NBC

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-08-05 13:59

People are seen at the parking lot of a grocery store in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, on June 10, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

NEW YORK - No one is immune from COVID-19, but not everyone's experience of the pandemic is the same in the United States, where the poor face higher risk, NBC reported on Wednesday.

Privileged Americans have free, high-quality testing and can quickly get access to anti-COVID medication, while those without insurance now have to pay for testing, and quick access to medication has proven elusive for some, said the report.

People who are poor and live in crowded conditions with least access to insurance and to innovative medical techniques are referred to as "viral underclass" by Steven Thrasher, a journalism professor at Northwestern University.

He explains how disease exposes and compounds inequality in the United States in his new book "The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide".

An April report found that people in poor counties in the United States died of COVID-19 at around twice the rate of people in more affluent counties, likely due to a lack of health insurance.

"Poorer people face higher risk from COVID, just as they have shorter life expectancies in general," said the report.

Meanwhile, health care in the United States is complicated and alienating, especially for people with few resources. A study released in early 2022, for example, found that lack of a high school degree was significantly correlated with vaccine hesitancy, the report added.

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