Disparate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color
Resolved, That the Executive Council, meeting from June 8-11, 2020, urges the Church, its dioceses and institutions, clergy and lay leadership, and all Episcopalians to join with their communities in actively removing barriers and addressing the social determinants of health. Some of those barriers and social determinants are detailed here:
- The current COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare long-standing inequities in communities of color, including Indigenous communities, which have resulted from centuries of institutional oppression and persistent systemic inequities in access to healthcare, housing, employment, quality of physical living environment, education and criminal justice.
- Research shows social determinants of health are related to economic status (40%), healthy behaviors (30%), access to and quality of care (20%) and physical environment including air and water quality, housing and transit (10%).
- People of color disproportionately experience poverty, homelessness, poor access to health care and nutritional food, increased risk of underlying health conditions such as asthma, and imprisonment under the current criminal justice system.
- People of color disproportionately find themselves living in multi-generational households in densely populated neighborhoods where preventative measures like social distancing are more difficult, with greater exposure to environmental hazards and more distant access to grocery stores and healthcare facilities – conditions which cause increased stress and anxiety.
- People of color disproportionately work in low-wage and essential service jobs with greater exposure to the public where work from home is less possible, paid sick leave benefits are fewer and, thus, pressure to balance economic survival versus risk of exposure to Covid-19 is greater
- Available data document that people of color disproportionately become sick and suffer greater severity of illness and death from Covid-19.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NAACP, National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty