States have loosened their restrictions and businesses are reopening and accepting customers. Many Americans are returning to work and a sense of normalcy. For those of us who are immunocompromised or medically-complicated, this is far from over. For those starting to feel more stability, let’s remember that COVID-19 affects each of us differently, and give to others when we can!
The CDC has released this very informative page about communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, as well as what we can all do to help! The reality is that groups of people who have been neglected in the past are feeling the effects of this pandemic more acutely. Low-income neighborhoods with crowded living spaces and less access to healthcare are at risk. People with preexisting conditions are at risk. Across categories, people of color are at risk. The report states that “Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age.” According to the New York Times, Black and Latinx Americans are about three times more likely to contract COVID-19.
Economically, this downswing has also hit some harder than others. For the 78% of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, this loss of income can be devastating. One study showed that 40% of Black-owned businesses will likely have to close. When thinking about job loss, we also need to remember that the 27 million Americans who have just lost their health insurance (and the roughly 5 million who won’t have another option) will also face tougher consequences of a hospital stay.
Keeping these disparities in mind can feel heavy! Instead of feeling bogged down, let’s use this opportunity to open ourselves up to honest reflection and change. If this virus has taught us one thing, it is just how much our actions can have an impact on others. We’ve put together some resources for those of us who are looking to step up to this challenge: