Senior writer, New York Times. You can sign up for The Morning, the daily newsletter I write, here: nytimes.com/newsletters/morn…

Washington, DC
Joined July 2010
American children are starting 2022 in crisis. I'm not sure that many people fully grasp the depth of it. 🧵 nytimes.com/2022/01/04/brief…
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David Leonhardt retweeted
My friends who clearly qualify and have otherwise top-notch doctors are telling me that their doctors have not heard of Evusheld, and thus they cannot get a prescription. It's absurd, but reality... Looking to find an informed doctor now, but how?
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Early in the pandemic, Covid’s death rate was far higher for Black and Latino Americans than for white Americans. That’s no longer true. Why? Above all, vaccination. 🧵
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First, the background: During Covid’s early months, the per capita death rate for Black Americans was almost twice as high as the white rate and 2+x the Asian rate. The Latino death rate was in between, substantially lower than the Black rate but still above average.
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These large gaps seemed as if they might persist, especially because white and Asian Americans were initially quicker to receive vaccine shots. Black and Latino Americans, by contrast, had less convenient access to the shots and many were skeptical of them.
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But the large racial gaps in vaccination have not continued — and as a result, neither have the gaps in Covid death rates. Instead, Covid’s racial gaps have narrowed and, more recently, even flipped.
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Over the past year, the Covid death rate for white Americans has been 14 percent higher than the rate for Black Americans and 72 percent higher than the Latino rate, according to the latest C.D.C. data.
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Why? Above all, because the Black and Latino vaccination rates today are slightly higher than the white rate. That has happened thanks to intense outreach efforts in vulnerable communities by medical workers, community organizers and others.
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In heavily conservative, white communities, leaders have not done as good a job explaining the vaccine’s benefits — and Covid’s risks — as leaders in Black and Latino communities. Millions of Americans, in turn, have chosen not to receive a lifesaving shot.
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Certainly, there are important caveats to this trend, including: 1) The total Black and Latino death rates remain higher, because the early disparities were so huge....
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And 2) The unequal nature of underlying health conditions — and access to good care — means that a Black person remains more vulnerable on average to severe Covid than a white person of the same age, sex and vaccination status.
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I agree with her that age is part of the story. I disagree that it overwhelms everything else.
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The story here is real: Covid killed much larger percentage of Black of Latino Americans than white Americans during the pandemic’s first year. During the past year, Covid has killed a higher percentage of white Americans than Black, Latino or Asian Americans.
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(An epistemological sidenote: It’s become common, especially on the left, to describe arguments with different framing or conclusions as “misinformation.” I think that’s a mistake. “The vaccines will hurt you” is misinformation. Many other disagreements are not, on either side.)
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The turnabout in Covid’s headline racial trends shouldn’t be that surprising. It’s a reflection of vaccination trends. The Covid vaccines save lives. Yet in many predominantly white communities, large numbers of people have nonetheless chosen not to get the shot.
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On the more positive side of things: The increase in Black and Latino vaccination rates is a big success story. It serves as a reminder that rigorous, well-funded public health campaigns have the potential to narrow racial gaps. And there are many other stark racial gaps...
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… Traffic deaths, which have surged lately, disproportionately kill lower-income Americans and people of color. Gun violence, which has also surged, is even more disproportionate. Diabetes, H.I.V., high blood pressure and infant mortality all take a higher toll on Black America.
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With Covid, the country mobilized to reduce the racial vaccination gap — and succeeded. With many other public health problems, a similar focus could probably save lives. Racial health inequities are not inevitable. nytimes.com/2022/06/09/brief…
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Another thoughtful critique -> Decisions were legitimately hard in summer 2020, before vaccines. To me, it seems clear both that a) our society mistreats teachers in the big picture and b) extended schools closures caused much more harm to kids than protection to teachers.
In fact @DLeonhardt’s piece suffers from the same blindspot as much of the school closure convos. Yes, remote learning negatively affected learning for many children. But closures were also to protect teachers. Who are people. Many are vulnerable to COVID or live w/ppl who are.
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A critique worth considering (even if you think "lie" is unfair -- I prefer to avoid that word when talking about intense, honest disagreements) ...
A good piece from ⁦@DLeonhardt⁩ about the overwhelming evidence the school closures were a mistake, though I don’t like the blaming teachers. The unions were following the experts. The experts lied about the role of schools in covid spread. nytimes.com/2022/05/05/brief…
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