The Demographics of Death: An Early Look at COVID-19, Cultural and Racial Bias in America

105 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2020 Last revised: 3 Mar 2021

See all articles by U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

U.S. House of Representatives

Lawrence J. Trautman

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business

Date Written: August 20, 2020


During late 2019, reports emerge that a mysterious coronavirus is resulting in high contagion and many deaths in Wuhan, China. In just a few weeks, cases are rising quickly in Seattle, have spread to California, and the first case is reported in New York (from Iran) on March 1, 2020.

Apparent that necessary widespread testing efforts for the virus have been botched by the U.S. government, reports emerge that: well-known celebrities, Washington politicians, and even entire N.B.A. teams were somehow finding available coronavirus testing, while the very scarce testing is denied to first responders and millions of other Americans. As the months pass it is abundantly clear that less wealthy Americans have far fewer options amid the new normal of shelter-in-place orders, school closings, and shuttered businesses. The poor and other certain populations may be genetically pre-disposed to heart disease and diabetic issues. Poverty dictates cheaper diets that may be high in carbohydrates (macaroni and cheese, pasta, etc.) and thus more likely to result in poor nutrition. COIVD-19 lays bare the fundamental racism in U.S. culture and public policy. The virus does not care about personal wealth, religion, or race. Enlightened self- interest dictates that we take care of the least fortunate among us. From a global perspective, corona virus is an issue that impacts and threatens us all. Census data reveals that sixty (60) percent of Black Americans (42.5 million) live in just 10 U.S. States. Can the super concentration of Black Americans in cities be a culprit in the disease ratios? What about hyper-exposure to fast-food and sugary drinks which is genuinely attributable to obesity and diabetes in old-age? Within a very few months, words such as apocalyptic are used to describe the 2020 American pandemic experience. By August 2020, it is obvious that the U.S. caseload leads the world with over 5 million infected.

Keywords: African Americans, Asian Americans, Blacks, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19, Crisis, Demographics, Diseases of Despair, Ebola, Employment, Health Insurance, Herd Immunity, Homelessness, Income Disparity, Latinx, National Security, Native Americans, Pandemic, Police Violence, Poverty, WHO

JEL Classification: A13, H12, H51, H56, H75, I14, J15, J48, J71, K00, R00, R23

Suggested Citation

Johnson, U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice and Trautman, Lawrence J., The Demographics of Death: An Early Look at COVID-19, Cultural and Racial Bias in America (August 20, 2020). 48 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 357 (2021)., Available at SSRN: or

U.S. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson

U.S. House of Representatives ( email )

2306 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
20515 (Fax)

Lawrence J. Trautman (Contact Author)

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business ( email )

Prairie View, TX
United States

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