A Nation Divided: COVID-19’s racial disparities

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., discusses how low-income and minority communities in his district have been impacted by COVID-19.
5:17 | 05/21/20

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Transcript for A Nation Divided: COVID-19’s racial disparities
Are joined now by democratic congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York who represented district hit hard by cove in nineteen. Congressman Jeff freeze thanks so much for joining us. Good to do if you. So we're reporting on coming nineteen along racial and economic lines bed sty in your district has certainly been. Particularly. Devastated ravaged by cobain's nineteen get a sense of what you've seen as far as how this virus is impacting. Low income and minority communities. Well there's a lot of pain is a lot of suffering as a lot of death all throughout America but particularly in low income communities of color. Full variety of different reasons we are over represented. And the number of front line essential workers people who are waking up each and every day. Going to work battling against the cove in nineteen pandemic. But as a result putting themselves. Their families and then neighbors at risk. Are we also tend to live in dancer circumstances. Here in Brooklyn and two out other parts of New York City I was increases the likelihood of possible infection. And then of course we live in communities that have historically been under resource. And as a result of that. You have people who'll have disproportionately. Higher rates of preexisting conditions. Like diabetes or heart disease are respiratory. Illness that could create additional complications. In connection with the. Corona virus that my Colin my colleague juju Chang spoke today with congresswoman Alexandria cuss you Cortez who said quote. Poverty and inequality in an of itself is a preexisting condition so how much of what we're seeing. As far as the impact of -- nineteen is due to these systemic disparities and what do congress actually do about it right now they. That might be able to get bipartisan support and impart what you're talking announced. Dancer in the living conditions and preexisting conditions what impact can congress have on that. What we need to continue to provide direct. Intervention in terms of an infusion of resources. To the American people. Are particularly those communities dad have been hit the hardest we need another round of direct stimulus payments that every day Americans. We have done that in terms of the heroes act which has passed the House of Representatives. We need to bolster our continue to strengthen it the unemployment insurance system. Here in New York State and across the country. We have done that as well in connection with the heroes act we also need to make sure that we support our state and local governments. Because that he extent there are dramatic budget cuts in New York State in New York City in other parts of the country. We know that it will be low income communities of color. We'll get hit the hardest in terms of public health a public housing a public transportation. Our public education so this is an all hands on deck moment. We need the federal government to step up. Mitch McConnell has indicated that he sees no urgency and acting immediately. That is an egregious and outrageous statement. The pain the suffering than death. Demand that we act with a fierce urgency of now. And one of plays something that we heard in your district from someone who lost their knees to come in nineteen take a listen. When this election time they drive around their cars same come out of I need some cars that drive fast and say. Come out says this address on these days and get tested. Come out to this location. And pick up free mass. She and others and we were on the ground in Brooklyn they talked about how difficult it was to get a test invest I how many people are afraid to go to the hospitals there. Is enough being done as far as outreach to minority communities to get them the resource is that they need. Including for young people shut out of schools right now where many of them actually went to get their daily meals. Well moss certainly must be done thankfully. The New York City Department of Education does continue to provide meals. To children up throughout the city of New York who otherwise would go hungry. We were closely with a great organization called bed sty campaign against hunger. Which has delivered. Meals. And food to thousands of people. In that the Stuyvesant and throughout central Brooklyn we also working when Governor Cuomo. And a variety of different houses of worship. And there the Stuyvesant and throughout the city of New York. Two established neighborhood based. Other Bethany. And there are many throughout the city of New York. And we're planning on scaling that up understanding. That not everyone will want to go to sue a hospital or to a medical clinic. And so we want to bring the attesting to the community. And that's being done. I'm a gonna continue to ramp that up as we move forward. Congressman Jeffries we appreciate your time. Thanks for joining us.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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