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Inside the Americas

Special programme: Covid-19 exposes glaring inequality in US

In the US, African Americans are disproportionately affected by Covid-19.
In the US, African Americans are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. © Kéthévane Gorjestani

This week we're bringing you a special edition of Inside the Americas from the United States to show how the country is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. We go to Baltimore to see why African Americans are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. We then head to the epicentre of the US outbreak, New York City. Finally, in Los Angeles, we’ll show you what money can buy during a pandemic.

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The US now has the world's highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths. And early data show that one demographic group is being hit harder than others: African Americans. Louisiana’s numbers are the most staggering, with black people making up more than 70 percent of deaths despite representing just a third of the population. The explanation lies in decades of racial inequality leaving black Americans more exposed, more at risk and less informed to face the virus, as we found out in Baltimore. Fanny Allard, Matthieu Mabin and Kéthévane Gorjestani report.

Businesses across the country have been forced to shut down, resulting in millions of American workers being laid off. Nearly 17 million lost their job in March, and millions more are expected to follow. Despite help provided through the recent stimulus packages, many Americans are now turning to food banks and charity to survive. That's especially true in New York City, the epicentre of the US outbreak, where Jessica Le Masurier and Celine Bruneau met New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet.

"Everyone is subject to this virus. I don't care how smart, how rich or how powerful you think you are." Those were the words of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo last month. But far from being the "equaliser" some expected, the coronavirus has exposed the devastating inequalities of American society. From getting a test to staying at home, our team in Los Angeles found that facing a pandemic is a very different experience for those with money. Valérie Defert, Alyssa Caverley and Pierrick Leurent report.

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