The COVID-19 virus was once called the “great equalizer” because of its potential to infect anyone and everyone at pandemic speed. But data on mortality rates tell a different story. Instead of affecting everyone equally, the coronavirus is amplifying the racial disparities in health outcomes across the United States. The disparities result from the country’s own pre-existing condition: an environment where people’s living and working conditions are anything but equal when it comes to pollution levels and protection from harmful toxins. These disparities are most visible in urban environments that have become pandemic hot spots. There, the coronavirus kills a higher percentage of minorities than it does of the cities’ overall populations.