AOC: Surgeon General Only Brought Up Personal Responsibility on Coronavirus ‘When We Started Talking About Black Americans’


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and The View co-host Sunny Hostin criticized United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams for advising minority communities to stop drinking and smoking in an effort to curb the coronavirus, citing racial inequity instead as the reason why minorities are contracting the virus “at a higher rate.”

“Congresswoman, you know the Surgeon General suggested last week that African-Americans and Latinos should step up and stop behaviors like drinking and smoking to help curb the spread of coronavirus in their communities, and I thought his comment reinforced the notion that personal responsibility is to blame for the racial health disparity rather than systemic racism,” declared Hostin during Wednesday’s episode, and asked AOC “What did you make of that?”

“I completely agree,” replied Ocasio-Cortez, adding, “When it was impacting the elderly, when it was impacting all sorts of people, we didn’t talk about personal responsibility. We only started talking about taking personal responsibility over contracting coronavirus when we started talking about black Americans contracting it at a higher rate.”

“Obviously there are certain things we can do to make sure that pre-existing conditions don’t exist, but ultimately it’s inequity that’s the pre-existing condition,” she continued. “It’s the inequality that’s the pre-existing condition, and you can’t just go to someone and tell them, ‘Hey, you should have had health care this whole time,’ when you’re working… an hourly job and your employer doesn’t give it to you.”

“You know, a lot of these pre-existing conditions have to do with the inability to access quality healthcare, the inability to afford quality healthcare, because we live in a country that continues to have a for-profit health care system unlike the rest of the developed world,” the congresswoman claimed. “And on top of that, the Bronx, we have a mortality rate that is twice… We have a Covid, coronavirus mortality rate that is twice the level of the rest of New York City. You know what’s not a coincidence? The fact that the Bronx has one of the highest asthma rates in the United States, and a lot of that has to do with environmental inequities that oftentimes…”

She then noted, “Just look at Flint, just look at Baltimore, just look at the Bronx. That public policy has polluted these communities, has poisoned air, and poisoned our water, and that is what is creating the large scale pre-existing conditions that are making our communities much more vulnerable than others.”

“So while, yes, if you are smoking you should consider to stop, and that goes for everybody, at the end of the day that’s not why there is such a high incidence of coronavirus that is impacting these communities disproportionately,” she concluded. “It is systemic inequality, and we have to take responsibility for those inequities, and we have to make sure we respond to it not with a personal choice, but with public policy.”

Watch above via ABC.

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