Fox News host Laura Ingraham mocked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for pointing out that the coronavirus pandemic is having an outsized impact on minority communities.
"COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities," the Democratic House member had tweeted. "Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions. Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations."
Ingraham took Ocasio-Cortez's tweet as an opportunity to attack the freshman congresswoman.
"The Doctor of Mixology will save us!" Ingraham tweeted in response.
Ocasio-Cortez was a bartender before she was elected to Congress.
"Didn't you just put a doctor on your show who faked their employment at Lenox Hill hospital and touted a COVID 'treatment' that you tweeted & Twitter had to remove because a man may have died trying self-administer it?" Ocasio-Cortez responded. "I'm sorry, why are you on TV again?"
Ingraham had previously hosted an oncologist who claimed to be employed with Lenox Hill hospital in Manhattan and had pushed an unproven cure for COVID-19. Ingraham later tweeted about the supposed miracle drug, writing that one patient who had taken it was described as "Lazarus," recovering quickly after being at death's door.
Twitter removed Ingraham's tweet touting the drug on Monday, 10 days after it had been posted, noting the tweet violated its "misleading information policy."
Ocasio-Cortez's concern for communities of color is shared by others.
"Urban communities of color are likely to suffer the brunt of the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis and any legislative response must contain targeted relief," Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said in a March 16 statement.
On Friday, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, both from Massachusetts, requested more information from the Trump administration about who has been tested.
"Any attempt to contain COVID-19 in the United States will have to address its potential spread in low-income communities of color, first and foremost to protect the lives of people in those communities, but also to slow the spread of the virus in the country as a whole," their letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar read.
While racial data about COVID-19 infections is not yet available nationwide, the Atlantic reported that some states are collecting such data on their own. Thus far, Ocasio-Cortez seems to be correct that minority communities are seeing a disproportionate impact.
In Illinois, African Americans make up 28 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases, yet comprise only 14.6% of the population. In contrast, white people make up 77 percent of the population yet account for only 39% of confirmed cases. The same disproportionate impact may be happening across the country, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not collect nor disaggregate COVID-19 data by race.
Ingraham has a long history of making inappropriate comments.
In October 2018, Ingraham lost 140 sponsors of her Fox News show after publicly mocking David Hogg, one of the survivors of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, for not getting accepted into a handful of colleges.
In May 2019, she also defended Paul Nehlen, a prominent white supremacist who appeared on her Fox News show.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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