Kamala Harris on COVID-19's disproportionate impact on African Americans

Sen. Harris addresses Trump’s push for hydroxychloroquine and calls for a suspension of credit card interest, fees and penalties for the next 120 days.
5:24 | 04/08/20

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Transcript for Kamala Harris on COVID-19's disproportionate impact on African Americans
Senator, president trump is aggressively advocating hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, yet Dr. Fauci has repeatedly warned there's no real conclusive evidence to support using the drug for coronavirus. Why do you think he is pushing that drug so hard? Does he have information that we haven't been provided? Sunny, your guess is as good as mine. I have no idea, but what I do know is this. It is a drug that has been proven to give relief from pain and almost disability to people with rheumatoid arthritis, people with lupus, and I'm hearing people all over the place are hoarding this drug for their pain, and extend the quality of their life may not be able to get it because the president keeps taking the stage and as opposed to what Dr. Fauci and medical health professionals are telling us, pushing this drug. He's got to stop -- he's not -- we don't want a drug pusher for president. We want somebody who takes that stage and speaks to the crisis in a way that is about bringing relief. I mean, one of the things that I have been focused on, you know, from my years of being attorney general is consumer protection. 10 million people as of last week, and just over the course of the last few weeks lost their jobs. 10 million people. One of the things I'm focused on, and I'm proud to announce it on your show, is I'm calling for a suspension of credit card interest fees and penalties because right now there are people who are out of a job who did not plan for this moment, and are going to be buying groceries with their credit cards, and those exorbitant fees that people are charged anyway, they should be suspended during this course of this pandemic. So I'm calling on the suspension of credit card fees and interest rates for the next 120 days because people are not going to pay their bills on time. A lot of folks just are not, and at the end of this pandemic, it's going to be awful for them to be trying to get back on their feet, find a job, get back to that small business they were working for and deal with these exorbitant fees. The other thing I'm calling on is to suspend negative reporting to credit scores because the other thing that's going to happen -- again, people are not going to pay their bills on time, and then it's going to go on their credit score. It takes a lifetime for people to clean up their credit scores, and folks should be able to have as much as possible to get back on their feet after this pandemic. So that's the kind of leadership speak to the issues that are affecting people right now and try and find relief for folks based on the authority of your office, but I don't know what this guy is doing. Senator Harris, this is Meghan again. I think that's a very patriotic and noble idea, and I hope that bill gets passed because you're how can we expect people to pay their bills when they're incapable of working? On a totally separate note, I want to ask you about something that's really, I think, disgusting and very hard for the American public to watch, and that is the absolute disproportionate impact that the coronavirus is having on African-Americans. Yeah. In Louisiana, 70% -- this is insane -- of the deaths are African-American people. We're seeing similar racial patterns in other states, here in New York City. What should we do? Why do you think we're seeing this disparity, and if we don't do something about the inequality, will this country be able to recover? One of the options we thought on this show was maybe FEMA needs to start sending in extra medical care and extra medical tents into these cities and areas of the country that is being hit so hard. Thanks for bringing that up, Meghan. So the fact is that during a crisis, the -- it magnifies the dispariies that existed before the crisis. In a crisis, people that were doing bad do even worse. On your point about racial disparities, we know that African-Americans and children are 20% more likely to have asthma. African-Americans are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure. Black women are three times more likely than white women to have lupus which we just discussed. Sickle cell anemia, it's a res pra story virus. Those who had racial conditions based on racial disparities are doing even worse in the midst of this pandemic, and it requires us to address it in a way that also recognizes the historical nature of it. For years, I have been working on black maternal mortality, which before this pandemic was very real. Black women are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women. It had nothing to do with that woman's education level or socioeconomic level. It was when a black woman walks into a clinic or a doctor's office, she was not being taken seriously. These are issues that have to be addressed, and you pointed to one solution which is about FEMA directing resources to those communities that we know had disparities before this pandemic, and those disparities are going to be exasperated by this pandemic. So we will be back with

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

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