Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

COVID-19 Special Edition: Creating Communities of Opportunity

COVID-19 Special Edition: Creating Communities of Opportunity

While the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us, it isn't affecting all of us equally. Some communities—especially communities of color—are feeling the brunt of the virus more than others, in terms of higher rates of infection as well as economic fallout, among many other ways. In this third special COVID-19 episode of The Brain Architects podcast, host Sally Pfitzer is joined by Dr. David Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Williams discusses ways in which the coronavirus pandemic is particularly affecting people of color in the U.S., and what that can mean for early childhood development. He also pinpoints the importance of creating "communities of opportunity" that will allow all families to thrive—both during and after this pandemic. Upcoming episodes of this special podcast series will focus on domestic violence, and the mental health implications of a global pandemic. Subscribe below via your podcast platform of choice to receive all new episodes as soon as they’re released. Speakers Sally Pfitzer, Podcast Host Dr. David Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Additional Resources Harvard Scholar: David R. Williams Social and Behavioral Determinants of Toxic Stress Transcript Sally: Welcome to The Brain Architects, a podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I’m your host, Sally Pfitzer. Since our last podcast series was released, things have changed drastically as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. During this unprecedented time, we’d like to share resources and provide guidance that you may find helpful. So, we are creating a series of podcast episodes that address COVID-19 and child development. This episode is the third in our series, and our guest today is Dr. David Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health - Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of African and African American Studies -Harvard Faculty Arts & Sciences. Thanks for being with us today, Dr. Williams. Dr. Williams: Thank you, it’s good for me to be here with you. Sally: Just so our listeners know, we’re recording this podcast today on a video call, so the sound quality may be different from what you’re used to hearing when we typically record this podcast in the studio. So, the data that’s coming out now that we’ve been seeing continue to reinforce the research that you have been doing for many years around racial disparities, and we’re seeing that this virus is disproportionately effecting people of color. What are you seeing now in terms of the data? Dr. Williams: We are seeing in multiple states more than half of all deaths from the Coronavirus are African American, and in virtually every state the percent of deaths of African Americans who die from the Coronavirus exceeds—it’s larger than the percent of African Americans in the population in that state. So, there is a disproportionate negative impact on African Americans in New York City, and we see a similar pattern for Hispanics. I think the important point I would like to make at the onset is that first, this is not a surprise. Two, this reflects a longstanding pattern, not just for Coronavirus but for virtually all of the leading causes of death. And that this pattern does not reflect failures on the part of the individuals, the families, and the communities that experience such disproportionate losses. Sally: I think a lot of times when we’re hearing about this data coming out, there is a missing component where people are hearing this is disproportionately affecting communities of color, but there is not a lot of talking happening right now around the ‘Why?

Duration: 19 min

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