How racism in US health system hinders care and costs lives of African-Americans

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the U.S., the virus hit African Americans disproportionately hard. African Americans are still contracting the illness – and dying from it – at rates twice as high as would be expected based on their share of the population. In Michigan, African Americans are only 14% of the population, but account for one-third of the state’s COVID-19 cases and 40% of its deaths. In some states the disparities are even more stark. Wisconsin and Missouri have infection and mortality rates three or more times greater than expected based on their share of the population.

White House close to finalizing removal of LGBTQ medical protections

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Health Department is close to finalizing the repeal of Obama era rules that barred discrimination based on orientation or gender identity.

Politico reported on Friday that the Trump administration’s final rule was circulated at the Justice Department on Thursday, a step toward publicly releasing the regulation in the coming days. The White House on Friday morning also updated a regulatory dashboard to indicate that the rule was under review.

COVID-19 may hit rural residents hard, and that spells trouble because of lack of rural health care

The empty streets of Hebron, Illinois, population 1,200, a village three miles south of the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Scott Olson/Getty Images

By Kevin J. Bennett, University of South Carolina

The burden of COVID-19 in rural areas has been under the radar, as the toll of the disease so far has been heaviest in dense urban areas. But up to 30% of the U.S. population lives in rural America, which already has experienced more than 128 hospital closures since 2010, including 19 last year. COVID-19 could lead to more closures and instability in rural America, even though the lower density of rural areas may help keep transmission rates of the disease down. With fewer people living across relatively large areas, social distancing is easier to accomplish.