The Rev. William Barber told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Thursday that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown a light on racial and economic inequality in the United States, as statistics are showing a disproportionate number of people of color are dying from the disease.
After citing statistics from New York City showing that COVID-19 is killing black and Latino residents at twice the rate it’s killing white residents, Camerota asked Barber to explain why he thinks the pandemic has been more lethal to communities of color.
“Pandemics expose the fissures of our society,” he said. “They expose all of the things we haven’t fixed prior to the pandemic. So we had less health care, we had less wages in poor communities.”
Camerota then asked Barber what he thought of the $2 trillion stimulus package recently passed by Congress, and he warned that the money was not being distributed to help the people who need it the most.
“Corporations immediately got $1.5 trillion early and then $500 billion — think about that!” he said. “Two weeks earlier we couldn’t afford health care, couldn’t do living wages. Now we have people working on the front line, many low-income jobs, we say they’re ‘essential,’ not being treated like essential workers. Don’t have health care, paid sick leave. So what happens? People end up not going to get treated, they can’t stay home.”
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CNN's Natasha Chen said that she was interviewing the mayor of Tybee Island on Saturday when she was jeered for wearing a face covering.
"Somebody saw us and the mayor and I were both wearing masks and they yelled at us to take them off," Chen recalled on Sunday. "Somebody claimed that sunlight is the best disinfectant."
In a subsequent report, Chen revealed that she had also been harassed while working in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
"Within the past hour, there was a person who was not happy with what we were covering," Chen said. "We've been talking to people -- who have all been really nice, by the way -- talking to us about how they're social distancing, what they're seeing with the crowds on the beach, but this person didn't like it."