Mobility restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 put many historically marginalized groups at greater risk for a range of negative “wellbeing” outcomes during the first part of the pandemic – supporting the idea that “racism is a public health issue”, Said a study published in this month JAMA network open.
Every 10% decrease in country-specific mobility was associated with a higher likelihood of mental health problems, unemployment, food shortages, and school class failures, according to the study. The authors analyzed data from a total of more than 1 million respondents to the 2020 Household Impulse Survey between April 23 and July 21, 2020, with an average of 90,693 people responding weekly.
Compared to high-income white men, low-income blacks, Hispanics, and low-income women of all races and ethnicities in general were at greater risk of suffering negative consequences such as unemployment, mental health problems, food insufficiency, and insolvency on rent or mortgage of the previous month, lack of access to necessary medical care and personal cancellations of classes without distance learning, according to the study.
The authors said they looked at outcomes beyond the “usual boundaries of health and healthcare,” based on the recognition that factors such as unemployment and housing differences could be “upstream drivers of health”.
“These results support the notion that racism is a public health problem,” the authors wrote. “Blanket public health policies that ignore existing distributions of risk to well-being can be linked to growing inequalities in terms of race / ethnicity, gender and income,” they added, if not aimed at providing the necessary relief to People who have historically been marginalized.
“Racism is not just the discrimination of a group based on their skin color, race or ethnicity, but also the structural barriers that differently affect racial and ethnic groups to influence where a person lives, where they work, where theirs Children play. and where they gather in fellowship. ‘
The JAMA Network Open study was the latest evidence that the pandemic had an overwhelming impact on people of color. Low-Income Americans and women. Black and Hispanic women were hit particularly hard by job lossesfor example while the pandemic is on Millions of women forced out of the workforce.
In the most recent study, people on low incomes were at greatest risk of getting all negative outcomes and those on low incomes were at highest risk for most outcomes. “Women made up 60% of these groups at greatest risk. Among these, African American women were at the greatest risk to wellbeing, ”the authors added, noting that high-income black women were also at high risk of inaccessible health care.
Low-income white women were at greatest risk of inaccessible medical care and most likely had mental health problems as well.
The authors advocated race, gender, and income-conscious policies of targeted relief, arguing that support for Americans most affected by these welfare risks “should not have arbitrary end dates,” but should continue until the economic indicators “a robust recovery. “
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky said this week “Racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans” and, consequently, the health of the country as a whole. She pointed to the disproportionate burden on color communities from the pandemic and attributed racial health differences to structural inequalities that have persisted for generations.
“Racism is not just the discrimination of a group based on their skin color, race or ethnicity, but also the structural barriers that differently affect racial and ethnic groups to influence where a person lives, where they work, where theirs Children play. and where they gather in fellowship, ”she said.
Walensky put forward a number of CDC efforts to address the problem, including an ongoing investigation into the so-called social determinants of health and new and expanded investments of COVID-19 funds in minority communities to address coronavirus-related differences.