Jul 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Salt Lake City declares racism a public health crisis

Salt Lake City

Photo: Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Salt Lake City has declared racism a public health crisis after the city council and mayor adopted a joint resolution, pledging to eradicating racist policies.

The big picture: The resolution comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared racism a serious public health threat in April.

  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky spoke then on the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on communities of color, pointing to case counts and death tolls, as well as economic and social effects.

The big picture: Salt Lake City's resolution states that racism has harmful effects on the mental and physical health of minority communities, resulting in significant health disparities.

  • The resolution shows that odds of COVID-19 infection rates were three times higher in neighborhoods with high percentages of Latino and non-white residents.
  • It adds that the city will take the steps to review public health data to address systemic barriers to health including racism.

What they're saying: "We are publicly acknowledging the existence of a grave inequity many in our community have long experienced, and are committing ourselves to creating policies and ordinances that are anti-racist," Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a tweet.

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