Anybody who is paying attention knows that the gulf between the health statistics of white and black Americans has existed for decades, or, really, centuries. Covid-19 is just the latest manifestation of an old and ugly trend. The explanation for it is at once simple—racism—and incredibly complex. Structural inequalities have kept black Americans significantly poorer than their white counterparts, and economic disparity creates health disparities, especially during a pandemic. Black people (and other minority populations) tend to live in more polluted, more densely populated areas, have more people per household, and are overrepresented in settings where people are unable to effectively social distance, like prisons and homeless shelters. They disproportionately work jobs currently considered essential, yet also are far less likely to have paid sick leave, enough savings to take time off, or a grocery store nearby enough to stock up easily.