A new study from Duke and Harvard Universities suggests that if reparations for Black Americans had been made before the pandemic, overall COVID-19 transmission could have been reduced.

The peer-reviewed study looks at the health implications of systemic racism and racial justice interventions. It used the state of Louisiana as a model and concluded that reparation payments could have reduced coronavirus there between 31 to 68 percent. 

Researchers wanted to find how access to health care, housing, education, and employment would affect viral spread if the racial wealth gap was narrowed. 

They compared infection rates in Louisiana during the early days of the pandemic to South Korea, a country that does not have a large population that can be traced back to enslaved people. They used a model that would pay $250,000 in reparations per person, or $800,000 per household. 

The results of the study showed that money would have really helped Louisiana and slowed the spread of COVID-19 by twofold.  

Co-author and Duke University professor William A. Darity says that if the racial wealth gap in our country had been closed, infection rates and mortality would have been dramatically lower not only for Black Americans, but for all Americans.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you're experiencing.

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