Alex Azar received widespread backlash after he blamed Americans, especially those in minority communities, Sunday for their poor health contributing to the high number of deaths from coronavirus in the U.S.
‘Unfortunately the American population is a (sic) very diverse – and it is a population with significant unhealthy comorbidities that do make many individuals in our communities – in particular African American, minority communities – particularly at risk here because of significant underlying disease, health disparities and disease comorbidities,’ the Health and Human Services secretary told CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning.
‘And that is an unfortunate legacy in our health care system that we certainly do need to address,’ Azar continued.
Social media users did not take the HHS secretary’s comments lightly, airing their grievances with Donald Trump’s administration on Twitter.
‘Blaming the 80,000+ human beings who have been killed by Covid-19 for their fate is the most disgusting deflection yet from an administration that was asleep at the switch,’ Laurence Tribe, a legal scholar and Harvard Law professor, tweeted. ‘This whole Trump team is worse than worthless.’
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (right) blamed Americans for their poor health contributing to the high number of coronavirus deaths in the U.S.
‘Unfortunately the American population is a (sic) very diverse – and it is a population with significant unhealthy comorbidities that do make many individuals in our communities – in particular African American, minority communities – particularly at risk here because of significant underlying disease, health disparities and disease comorbidities,’ Azar said
Twitter world did not take kindly to the comments. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe claimed Trump’s administration ‘is worse than worthless’
One of Hillary Clinton’s former aides sarcastically quipped: ‘Classy’
Another user wrote that the ‘racism is non-stop,’ calling Azar and the Trump administration ‘white supremacists’
Azar’s comments come as the U.S. surpassed 1.5 million confirmed cases – with African Americans and other minority communities disproportionately contributing to the death toll
Another Twitter user posted: ‘The racism is non-stop this mornin’. In pure White Supremacist fashion, the Trump administration blames black people for the high death rates.’
Sergio Grant, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, also bashed Trump and Azar.
‘So I see the @realDonaldTrump administration, represented here by Alex Azar, has moved from blaming China for American coronavirus deaths, to blaming the American people for their own deaths. Classy,’ he tweeted.
Several reports have indicated that minority communities have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus – so much so that states have begun reporting death tolls by race.
An report revealed that as of May 1, African Americans made up 32 per cent of the coronavirus deaths in Wisconsin, even though they only make up 6.7 per cent of the population there.
Michigan and Missouri, where African Americans account for roughly 40 per cent of coronavirus deaths, comprise just 14 per cent and 12 per cent of the population, respectively.
As of Monday, more than 1.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with coronavirus and more than 90,000 people have died in the U.S. – while immunocompromised and already ill individuals are more likely to fall fatal after contracting the disease.
Even though Azar laid the blame on unhealthy Americans contributing to the death rates, he flipped the switch on his view with ending social distancing guidelines and lockdowns.
Azar claimed Sunday that reports of people crowding in bars across the country as some states and localities begin to lift restrictions is ‘part of the freedom’ Americans have.
Azar also claimed it is ‘part of the freedom’ Ameircans have to gather in groups at restaurants and bars as they begin open in some states
During his interview with Jake Tapper, the CNN anchor confronted Azar about the high number of cases and deaths in the U.S. as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Azar, however, asserted the reason America makes up nearly 30 per cent of the reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world, is because of the high level of testing in the U.S. compared to other countries.
‘So first just in terms of the actual case counts, we are testing more than other countries, or that (sic) other major countries – so we’re seeing a tremendous number of cases,’ Azar said.
He was echoing the reasoning given by President Trump, who said if the U.S. did less testing or had a smaller testing capability, then it would have just as little cases as other countries.
‘Remember, we’re actually flushing out significant asymptomatic individuals in the United States. Other countries are not testing asymptomatic individuals in any way like we’re doing,’ Azar continued, adding that there are low case counts in other countries because there are low testing.