Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews

There is no stopping covid-19 without stopping racism

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2244 (Published 09 June 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2244

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  1. Abraar Karan, internal medicine physician1,
  2. Ingrid Katz, associate faculty director2
  1. 1Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Harvard Global Health Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  1. abk655{at}mail.harvard.edu

As Martin Luther King Jr said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”

Doctors like us who have been working on the covid-19 response in the US have been told to “stay in our lane” as the murder of George Floyd has triggered the largest anti-racism movement since the 1990s.

Unsurprisingly, many prominent physicians and public health leaders have remained relatively silent on the topic of racism, which has historically been falsely politicised as a matter of partisanship. It is not. And it is our lane.

Racism has always been a public health problem. Racism kills our patients, our neighbours, our colleagues, our leaders.

A number of people who see the protests as possible drivers of more covid-19 cases have suggested that it’s hypocritical of doctors to support anti-racism protestors now when weeks earlier they denounced large crowds because of the risk of spreading the virus.

Framing anti-racism protests against the control of covid-19 is a false dichotomy. Will crowds possibly lead to more covid-19 …

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