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Leaders must address equity to build back better

Like climate change, COVID-19 is a threat-multiplier. Both crises compound and highlight existing inequities

Three months into the COVID-19 crisis, it’s become clear that this pandemic, like climate change, disproportionately impacts communities of colour.

Data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly one-third of COVID-19 patients are black, even though they make up just 13% of the U.S. population. Numbers are similar for COVID-19 death rates. This pattern is true across nearly all jurisdictions that collect data.

In Canada, we don’t collect race-based data, but the information we have indicates a similar trend. People in North Montreal, the lowest-income neighbourhood in the Montreal Metropolitan Area, are falling ill and dying in greater per-capita numbers than in other neighbourhoods. Stats from Toronto Public Health show higher infection rates in areas with greater proportions of low-income people or newcomers.

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