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New York City Department of Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

The New York City Board of Health has declared racism a public health crisis.

Why it matters: NYC Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi noted in a statement after the resolution passed Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic had "magnified inequities, leading to suffering disproportionately borne by communities of color in our City and across our nation," but such inequities aren't inevitable.

  • N.Y. State Sen. Brand Hoylman (D) said in a statement the "combined effect of institutional racism and the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Brown New Yorkers represent an urgent call to action which we can no longer ignore as a government or society."
  • The resolution comes six months after the CDC declared racism "a serious public health threat," highlighting the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, such as case and death counts, as well as economic and social effects.

The big picture: The NYC board's resolution requests that the city Health Department research and acknowledge "examples of its historic role in divesting and underinvesting in critical community-led health programs" and "participate in a truth and reconciliation process with communities harmed by these actions when possible," per a statement.

  • The NYC Health Department will create a Data for Equity internal working group in response to the resolution to address racial inequities and improve health outcomes, making recommendations for revisions to a health charter in the newly established Mayoral Racial Justice Commission.

The bottom line: Chokshi, one of 11 medical experts who sit on the NYC board, pointed out at a meeting ahead of the resolution passing how the pandemic underscored unnecessary disparities, the New York Times notes.

  • "Why do some nonwhite populations develop severe disease and die from COVID-19 at higher rates than whites?” he said, according to the NYT. "Underlying health conditions undoubtedly play a role.
  • "But why are there higher rates of hypertension, diabetes and obesity in communities of color? The answer does not lie in biology.
"Structural and environmental factors such as disinvestment, discrimination and disinformation underlie a greater burden of these diseases in communities of color."
— Chokshi

Go deeper

Omicron variant found in Philadelphia man

A technician handles tubes containing swab samples for COVID-19. Photo: Ahmad Salem/Getty Images

A Northwest Philadelphia resident has tested positive for the Omicron variant, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Friday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case of the new coronavirus variant involves a man in his 30s, the department said.

Axios Visuals Deep Dive: Pandemic eating

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Abrams’ campaign manager rules out 2024 run if she wins governor's race

Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

In her first major interview since the official announcement, Stacey Abrams' campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo quashed speculation that the Georgia Democrat would interrupt a theoretical gubernatorial term to run for president in 2024.

Why it matters: Abrams' name has come up repeatedly as a top 2024 Democratic contender given President Joe Biden's age and Vice President Kamala Harris's low favorability rating.