The deadly intersection of poverty, race and COVID-19
The deadly intersection of poverty, race and COVID-19

The deadly intersection of poverty, race and COVID-19

Exactly 54 years to the day after the assassination of Pastor Martin Luther King Jr., who led the campaign for the poor at the time of his assassination, the campaign that continued his work published a report describing the diverse impact that COVID The -19 pandemic has hit low-income people and colored communities.

“The Pandemic Report of the Poor People” was a collaboration between Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, Kairos Center, Repairers of the Breach, Howard University and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a nonprofit launched in 2012 under the auspices of the United Nations. Secretary-General. In a way that no report has done before, it maps the intersections between poverty, race and COVID-19 – and it does so at a time when free COVID-19 test is completed for uninsured and mask mandates are revokedwhich is likely to pave the way for another increase in the disease.

“Poor People’s Pandemic Report” highlights top 300 U.S. counties with high poverty and COVID-19 death rates. It found that rural, poor counties experienced the highest proportion of cumulative COVID-19 cases. Counties with the most people living in poverty had death rates 1.5 times higher than counties with lower poverty levels. During the third phase of the pandemic in the winter of 2020-2021, death rates were 4.5 times higher in the group of counties with the lowest median income compared to those in the group with the highest median income, the report found.

“What we can not say in this report is who are the people who died,” said Alainna Lynch, senior research director at SDSN. “But what we can say is that the poorest counties mourned twice as many deaths as the richest counties.”

When the more contagious Delta variant emerged in late 2020 and early 2021, low-income counties experienced death rates five times higher than richer counties, while during the even more contagious Omicron variant phase that began in late 2021 , low-income counties experienced death rates of three times higher. More colored people became infected during the Omicron phase, possibly due to the higher risk of exposure to personal work, transportation and housing. Counties with more black inhabitants experienced higher death rates than those with fewer black inhabitants.

The report also points to regional disparities, noting that almost 73% of the counties with the lowest median incomes and 76% of those with the highest percentage of people living in poverty are located in the southeast and southwest. Of the 300 counties listed in the report for high poverty and COVID-19 death rates, 236 are located in the south.

The report discusses the experience of people like Olivia Womack, a college student who grew up in the city of Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi, where nearly half of all residents are poor and the COVID-19 death rate was 320 per cent. 100,000 people. Womack lost over 20 members of his family during the pandemic, including his grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins.

The report notes that the current challenge to the US Supreme Court 1973 Roe v. Wade The decision to legalize abortion stems from a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. “People will fight like hell for the unborn, but people who live will die,” said Danyelle Holmes, an organizer of Poor People’s Campaign, who is also from Hinds County.

Even before the pandemic, Mississippi residents died at higher-than-average rates – in part because the state is among 12 nationwide and eight in the South which has not expanded Medicaid, the low-income health insurance program, under the Affordable Care Act. Before the pandemic, nearly 360,000 Mississippians were uninsured.

“Poverty in the United States is its own epidemic,” the report states.

But many policy solutions that could greatly alleviate poverty have either not been adopted or have been reduced. For example, the south is where four of the five states with the most minimum wage workers liveyet state legislators in the region have opposed raising the minimum wage.

Recently, the expanded Child Tax Credit under the U.S. Rescue Plan Pandemic Stimulation Act proved to be a success in alleviating poverty. For example, from the time payments to families began in July 2021 to early August, the number of American adults living in households with children reporting that they did not have enough to eat decreased by a third. However, the credit expired at the end of last year because of the tightly divided U.S. Senate failed to renew it as part of the Build Back Better Act, submission 3.7 million children back in poverty.

On June 18, the Poverty Campaign will hold a Lots of poor and low-wage workers’ assembly and march towards Washington and to the polling stations to draw attention to the demands of the 140 million poor and low-income people in the United States

“All too often, we blame the poor for what are, in fact, systemic political decisions that are out of their hands, decisions made for poor communities, but decisions they would never make themselves.” said Shailly Gupta Barnes, the political director of the campaign. “Whether it’s about what the minimum wage should be, who has health care or paid leave or childcare, or how much debt we owe, or who has enough to eat, who has clean water … it’s all political decisions , choice.

“Police officers decide these issues, not the people whose lives are affected by these decisions,” she continued. “And now with this data and this analysis, we can see that whoever died during the pandemic, especially in these worst phases, was also a political choice.”

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