what a very productive day!! i did and prepared for my requirements for tomorrow, joined the others for our last interview session for our qualitative study (in the research competition we are joining), had a brief talk with our research mentor, walked berry, finished the initial thematic coding for our research, cleaned the apartment, ate a take out while watching transporter 2, did my gross manual, folded the laundry, and now i’m on my bed, cozy with the ac on and sleepy. watching high rise invasion to fall asleep. what a v v productive day!! the sky was a stark blue and everything is just tranquil. i want to manifest this kind of peace in the coming weeks please 🌤🍄🪴
Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 70,000 Black people died prematurely in 2019 compared to their white peers — on average, 190 people dying prematurely every day for a year.
Covid-19 has likely made that worse. Due to a range of structural factors, Black people are disproportionately likely to get seriously ill and die from the disease. A recent study in PNAS found that the Black-white life expectancy gap grew by nearly a year and a half in 2020 due to the coronavirus, from 3.6 to 5 years.
That’s equal to undoing more than a decade of progress in closing the gap. The Black-white gap had been narrowing, partly due to improvements in access to health care (good) and drops in life expectancy among some white groups (bad). Covid-19 reversed part, though not all, of the improvements.
The average white person is more likely than the average Black person to have health insurance and access to care. The average white person is more likely to live near a grocery store with healthy options. She’s more likely to live in a good school district. She’s more likely to live in a neighborhood with better air quality. She’s more likely to live in a community that isn’t plagued by gun violence. She’s more likely to have flexible work conditions. And on and on.
That’s not to say every single white American has it great — that’s obviously not true. But, on average, Black people tend to face much bigger challenges for living the healthiest life possible. That shows up in the life expectancy gap: White people were expected to live nearly 79 years on average before Covid-19 and almost 78 years after, while Black people were expected to live nearly 75 years before Covid-19 and almost 73 after, according to the PNAS study. The Black life expectancy even before Covid-19 was equivalent to what the white life expectancy was in the 1970s — as though decades of progress in well-being and health care were suddenly erased.
There are many, many reasons for this. Throughout US history, outright discrimination has driven Black people into poorer communities with more pollution and less access to healthy food, while keeping access to good jobs, homes, and health care out of reach. The aftermath of Jim Crow and slavery, and insufficient action to repair the harms such policies afflicted on Black communities, left big socioeconomic disparities in place, including a very large racial wealth gap. Whether it’s explicit or implicit, there’s no part of Black life that systemic racism, past or present, hasn’t touched.
Meanwhile, America’s health care system in particular has an awful record on race. As one example, researchers in the Tuskegee study used Black people as unwilling test subjects — allowing them to languish with syphilis and even die. Black patients have also dealt with a health care system that has long dismissed their legitimate concerns, whether it’s regarding pain or maternal health. Surveys show that, as a result, Black people are less likely to trust the health care system, and perhaps less likely to use it even when it could help them.
“It’s a very intimate thing — your medical history — and there’s a lot of potential judgment involved and vulnerability involved,” Marcella Alsan, an economist and public health expert at Harvard Kennedy School, told me. “You have to have a belief in the person giving you the advice.”
Matthew Walker PhD, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Fredrik Backman, Anxious People
psych is fucked up but not uniquely i think. I hear too many med school horror stories from my wannabe doctor buddies
Medicine is almost a whole tier to itself in terms of fucked up, imo. Nursing is on thin fucking ice.
The nervous system of the human body.
Engraving by J. Wandelaar, 1726, after a woodcut, 1543.
“On Thursday, the BMJ (formerly, British Medical Journal ) published an editorial accusing the world’s governments of “social murder” in their collective response to the pandemic.
The BMJ is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious medical periodicals, with a publication history going back to 1840. Its editorial, “Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant,” is signed by executive editor Kamran Abbasi. It is a devastating indictment of policies implemented over the past year that have led to the deaths of more than two million of people.
“Murder,” the editorial begins, “is an emotive word. In law, it requires premeditation. Death must be deemed to be unlawful. How could ‘murder’ apply to failures of a pandemic response?” The BMJ then goes on to argue that the term is entirely appropriate:
When politicians and experts say that they are willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy, is that not premeditated and reckless indifference to human life? If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths? When politicians willfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy, is that lawful? Is inaction, action?
“At the very least,” the BMJ writes, “covid-19 might be classified as ‘social murder,’” pointing to the use of the term by the socialist leader Friedrich Engels in “describing the political and social power held by the ruling elite over the working classes in 19th century England.”
At this point, just fucking wear it so we can all get passed this.