The novel Coronavirus has killed more than 150,000 people and infected over two million individuals in the world. Recently Dr Kizzmekia Corbett, who is described by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the "lead" member of US's vaccine development team called the COVID-19 pandemic as a black 'genocide' and the well-known researcher condemned what she called "systematic oppression" by white people.
Corbett responded to a Tweet urging the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr Anthony Fauci and the general surgeon Dr Jerome Adams to "check" their "privilege."
Corbett on Coronavirus pandemic
The 34-year-old immunologist with the Vaccine Research Center, a division of NIAID, Corbett's Twitter biography reads, "Virology. Vaccinology. Vagina-ology. Vino-ology. My tweets are my own. My science is the world's."
She tweeted a Bloomberg article about how the poor are dying at higher rates from Coronavirus on March 29 and she mentioned that doctors would deliberately choose to deny ventilators to black Americans, leaving them to die instead. She wrote, "I tweet for the people who will die when doctors has [sic] to choose who gets the last ventilator and ultimately... who lives."
Later, on April 9, someone replied, "It's so scary to think about. I know when it comes down to it people will be turned away or left to die because they are black", while another netizen said, "They hate us. This virus is a sure fire way to get rid of us without having to lift a finger." At that time Corbett wrote on Twitter that "Some have gone as far to call it genocide. I plead the fifth."
African Americans are more likely to die from Coronavirus
People of colour in the US have more underlying health issues, less access to health care and are more likely to work in unstable jobs. Recently new data revealed that black and brown communities across the US are more likely to die from Coronavirus and Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot said that more than half of Chicagoans who have died from the deadly Coronavirus are African Americans. Data showed that Afro-Americans from the Chicago region accounted for 72 percent of deaths from the Coronavirus complications and 52 per cent of positive tests for the COVID-19, mentioned the city's public health agency.
While referring to what Corbett called systemic racism, she wrote on Twitter, "I am praying that policies reflect this is [sic] multiple ways. They must or we will be doomed in the next pandemic(s) too."
Last week, Dr Adams told the media during a press conference that the African Americans suffer more from obesity, diabetes and other ailments that increase the risk of death from Coronavirus. He also advised African Americans to avoid cigarettes and alcohol to protect their health during the epidemic. After this comment, Corbett retweeted another user's thread saying that the suggestion was "offensive because they ignore systemic racism." The thread ended with mentioning Dr Fauci and Dr Adams to check their "privilege" and added that "Think critically. Stop spreading harmful fallacies that support white supremacy."
Last week, in a Twitter argument, Corbett said "Merit [is] defined by prejudices," while another user replied, "So can we just dismiss anything white men are involved in because they're intrinsically malevolent?" Then she replied that "White men are not be dismissed. But the systems that they (ancestor or current) curated are."
Corbett's role in Coronavirus research
Earlier this month Corbett told CNN's Anderson Cooper that "several of our previous projects," which also include MERS and SARS research, informed the government's ongoing Coronavirus vaccine research. She also mentioned that "we've researched coronavirus vaccine development for the last 7 years, particularly under my direction, the team has researched this coronavirus development for 5 years."
She also said that a vaccine for novel Coronavirus could possibly be available to the general public by next spring. Corbett is one of the well-known personalities from science field in US. Earlier Senator Kamala Harris also praised Corbett on Twitter, saying she was "leading the charge around the clock to develop a vaccine for coronavirus. The world owes you and your team a debt of gratitude."