Steven Thrasher on 'The Viral Underclass' and why viruses connect us all : It's Been a Minute After years of covering HIV and AIDS, journalist Steven Thrasher knew that the hardest hit communities were almost always the poorest and most marginalized ones. Then COVID-19 struck, and he saw that the same groups of people were suffering the most.

In his new book The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide, Thrasher explores how this pattern plays out in communities around the world. Guest host Tracie Hunte talks to him about the ways that systemic oppression puts marginalized people at greater risk of infection for all diseases – and also blames them for transmission.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at ibam@npr.org.

Why protecting the 'viral underclass' can keep us all healthy

Why protecting the 'viral underclass' can keep us all healthy

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FILE - A sign urges the release of the monkeypox vaccine during a protest in San Francisco, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File) Haven Daley/AP hide caption

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Haven Daley/AP

FILE - A sign urges the release of the monkeypox vaccine during a protest in San Francisco, July 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)

Haven Daley/AP

After years of covering HIV and AIDS, journalist Steven Thrasher knew that the hardest hit communities were almost always the poorest and most marginalized ones. Then COVID-19 struck, and he saw that the same groups of people were suffering the most.

In his new book The Viral Underclass: The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide, Thrasher explores how this pattern plays out in communities around the world. Guest host Tracie Hunte talks to him about the ways that systemic oppression puts marginalized people at greater risk of infection for all diseases – and also blames them for transmission.

They also discuss the story that first inspired the book, and what viruses themselves can teach us about vulnerability, humility and collective action.

This episode was produced by Barton Girdwood. It was edited by Jessica Mendoza and Jessica Placzek. Our executive producer is Veralyn Williams. You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at IBAM@npr.org.