Former Los Angeles Laker player and NBA Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson joined CNN’s coronavirus town hall to talk about his experience living through two major outbreaks — the HIV epidemic and now this pandemic.
On racial inequality during a pandemic:
“When you think about African-Americans, we deal with a lot of health issues already. And then the lack of access to health care, that’s just an unbeatable combination, and so we must get better,” he said.
Change must begin at a local level, then at a state level, then at the federal level, he said.
“Until someone says, hey, we’re going to make sure that African-Americans and Latinos and others have a level playing field, that the same opportunities that others have … Until those things change, (minorities) are still going to have a lack of health care.”
On the parallels between this pandemic and the HIV/AIDS epidemic:
Johnson announced in 1991 both his retirement from the NBA — and his HIV-positive status. “I think right now is similar to what happened with HIV and AIDS,” he said.
Some of those parallels include a lack of testing in black and minority communities, and a lack of accurate information within underprivileged areas, he said.