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'Viral Underclass' author analyzes how COVID-19 exploits inequalities

Celadon Books / C.S. Muncy

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of over a million Americans and infected more than 90 million. And, while the virus has touched virtually every corner of the country, some communities have been hit much harder than others.

In health outcomes, Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be sent to the hospital because of COVID-19 . And, while unemployment recently fell to 3.9%, Black unemployment was at 7.1%, according to National Geographic.

One expert argues that viruses can exploit divides such as race and class and widen them even further.

We speak to Dr. Thrasher about his new book, “The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide” to learn lessons from the AIDS crisis to COVID-19 and monkeypox and what might be done to prevent future public health crises.


Dr. Steven Thrasher, chair of social justice in reporting and assistant professor of journalism at Northwestern University and author of “The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide.”

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.