COVID-19 – NATIONAL


In Support of Shame

By Kendra Pierre-Louis

Read the full article from Slate, here.

Shame is a form of punishment that derives its power from depriving you of your reputation within the society. When people make blanket proclamations that we should not shame others, what they are criticizing, in a very real way, is the ability to make and enforce social norms. Many of those articles that warn against shame, do so partly because COVID-19 is a systemic issue, but that ignores that even in the presence of clear rules and support, it still requires a bit of social cohesion. And as one popular meme points out: Wearing a mask is a lot like wearing pants. The reason many of us don’t stroll through town naked is not because we fear arrest but because we fear shame. It’s worth noting that early research suggests that collectivist cultures—which tend to employ shame more—better contained COVID early on in their outbreaks.

This Is What’s Passing as ‘Food’ in Texas Prisons Right Now

By Keri Blakinger

Read the full article from The Daily Beast, here.

As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State this week and led to widespread power outages, prisoners and corrections officers agree: already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons somehow got even worse.

The Case for Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccines in Prisons and Jails

By Emily A Wang & Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein & Lisa B. Puglisi

Read the full article from The Appeal, here.

Prisons and jails across the country have been breeding grounds for COVID-19. Built to house scores of people in a confined setting, correctional facilities have accounted for a majority of the largest single-site, cluster outbreaks across the country. Nearly 20 percent of the nation’s prison population has tested positive for COVID-19, with an infection rate more than five times higher and an age-adjusted mortality rate three times higher than that of the general population.

The US Regulatory System and COVID-19 Vaccines: The Importance of a Strong and Capable FDA

By Joshua M. Sharfstein, Jesse L. Goodman, and Luciana Borio

Read the full article from Journal of the American Medical Association here.

“For many in public health and medicine, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the US has been a frustrating journey from one disappointment to the next: late access to testing, insufficient staff and inadequate funding for contact tracing, jumbled communications, and, at the end of 2020, a chaotic launch of vaccination efforts. But in one area, from the beginning of the pandemic to the present, the US has excelled: facilitating the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines.”

Changes in Shooting Incidence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Between March and November 2020

By Jessica H. Beard, Sara F. Jacoby, Zoë Maher; et al

Read the full article from The Journal of the American Medical Association here.

“Firearm violence occurred more frequently in US cities in 2020 compared with previous years. Two major events of 2020 may explain this increase: enactment of containment policies to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and a national reckoning with systemic racism, including widespread protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd. This study evaluated independent associations between COVID-19 containment policies and the killing of George Floyd on firearm violence in one US city, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”

What’s at Stake in the Fight Over Reopening Schools

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New Yorker here.

“Chicago schools were slated to reopen in the fall, when the school year began, but rising rates of community spread and a lack of proper protections resulted in the continuation of remote learning. Chicago Public Schools then announced that it would plan to reopen in January—just as infection rates and deaths were rising exponentially across the country. Chicago teachers voted with their feet. When they were asked to report to their buildings on January 4th, only forty-nine per cent did.”

How the United States Chose to Become a Country of Homelessness

By Dale Maharidge

Read the full article from The Nation, here.

In the ensuing months, tens of thousands of Americans have been evicted; according to the Eviction Lab, landlords have filed more than 162,500 eviction notices in the 27 cities it tracks. But the worst of the crisis has been averted so far by a patchwork of state moratoriums that have been supplemented, in turn, by a patchwork of federal efforts. In March, Congress passed a temporary eviction moratorium as part of the CARES Act; after that expired, in September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stepped in with its own temporary moratorium. Most recently, as part of the stimulus package passed in late December, Congress provided $25 billion in rental assistance to states and localities and extended the eviction moratorium to January 31. Renters breathed a sigh of relief.

The Chamber of Commerce Wants to Slash COVID-19 Relief Checks. We Can’t Let Them.

By Andrew Perez

Read the full article from Jacobin, here.

The nation’s biggest business lobby is pushing Democrats to slash COVID-19 relief checks for middle-class families, despite new census data showing that nearly half of those families have lost income because of the pandemic. Top Democrats are now reportedly considering excluding millions of those families from the checks, and President Biden himself has said he is willing to negotiate with Republicans on limiting eligibility for the checks.

This is how long it could take to vaccinate all the adults in the US against Covid-19

By Deidre McPhillips

Read the full article from CNN, here.

In the past seven days, about 914,000 doses have been administered daily. If vaccination continues at this same rate, every adult in the US could be fully vaccinated by summer 2022, according to a CNN analysis. If vaccination picks up to 1 million shots per day, in line with Biden’s promise, that timeline could bump up to spring 2022. To fully vaccinate all adults in the US by the end of the year, the pace would have to increase to about 1.3 million doses administered per day.

CDC reports record number of daily Covid-19 vaccinations as states struggle with supply

By Theresa Waldrop

Read the full article from CNN, here.

The CDC said Friday that nearly 1.6 million more doses of the vaccines have been administered, bringing the total of doses given to more than 19 million. And 1 million new shots were reported in the previous 24-hour period, according to changes in CDC data from Wednesday morning to Thursday morning. That was only the second time a one-day increase rose above 1 million. The number of administered doses reported this week also was 22% higher than last week. While vaccinations are taking off, more states are complaining that they don’t have enough vaccine. New York will run out of Covid-19 vaccine doses Friday after using 97% of the first doses it received, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Black America Has Reason to Question Authorities

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from Thhe New Yorker here.

“The skepticism among the Black public is not rooted in the same kind of anti-scientific sentiment that has motivated those small communities that reject vaccines in general. Instead, Black concerns are enmeshed within a history of Black health care that is replete with acts of cruelty and depravity and has caused Black communities to regard the health-care professions with warranted suspicion. More important, racism in the provision of medical treatment in the United States has tainted the ways that health-care professionals view Black suffering and symptoms, and Black bodies, more generally.”

Black people are dying from coronavirus — air pollution is one of the main culprits

By Jared Dewese

Read the full article from The Hill here.

“Harvard researchers recently found that even the smallest increase of exposure to a common air pollutant is associated with a 15 percent increase in the death rate from COVID-19 (on top of increased risk of lung cancer and heart problems). Fossil fuel plants are among the top emitters of this particle, along with other pollutants that can cause or worsen asthma and shortness of breath. Partly due to a history of redlining, African Americans live closer to fossil fuel infrastructure than the rest of the population: A 2017 joint report from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Clean Air Task Force found that more than a million African Americans live within a half-mile of an oil and gas facility.”

One in Every Three African Americans Not Willing to Get COVID Shot

By Larry Hamilton

Read the full article from The DC Post here.

“Researchers behind the study noted the percentage increased to 35 among the surveyed Black adults, as this group said they ‘definitely or probably would not get vaccinated,’ even though they are affected disproportionately by the pandemic and dying at almost three times the rate of white Americans.”

History Of Medical Testing Has Left Many African Americans Hesitant About The New COVID-19 Vaccine

By Sarah Mizes-Tan

Read the full article from CapRadio here.

“[Cofer] believes the key to getting higher vaccine uptake in the Black community is going to rest on organizations going through trusted community leaders first. Cofer, an African American woman, says she’s still researching what’s been released by Pfizer and Moderna, and the potential for any side effects on African Americans. Some early studies have shown there is a chance the vaccine might be slightly less effective for people of Asian or Black ancestry.”

Black health leaders try to build trust in the Covid vaccine among African Americans

By Bertha Coombs

Read the full article from CNBC here.

“Seven out of 10 African Americans know someone who’s been hospitalized or died from Covid, according to a Pew Research poll conducted last month. Yet vaccine skepticism runs high. Only 42% of Blacks surveyed say they plan to be vaccinated, compared with more than 60% for Americans overall.”

Black Americans face higher COVID-19 risks, are more hesitant to trust medical scientists, get vaccinated

By John Gramlich and Cary Funk

Read the full article from the Pew Research Center here.

“The disparity is particularly wide in some states. In Kansas and Wisconsin, black people account for 6% of each state’s population but 29% and 26% of deaths, respectively – the biggest proportional disparities out of the states for which demographic data on coronavirus deaths is available…Meanwhile, a little over half of black adults (54%) say they would definitely or probably get a coronavirus vaccine if one were available today, while 44% say they would not.”

‘Makes you ask why the hell we even bother.’ Infectious disease experts face disillusionment as COVID-19 pandemic worsens

By Hanna Krueger

Read the full article from Boston Globe here.

“But as the worsening outbreak drags into its ninth month and politics too often prevail over science, many infectious disease experts say they are increasingly disillusioned. The rush of adrenaline and resolve from the pandemic’s early months has given way to frustration and fatigue caused by those government leaders who have ignored scientific data, and a public that has often shrugged off — or been openly hostile to — informed guidance. As cases and deaths surge across the country, some feel they are screaming into the void.”

Trump’s Pathology Is Now Clear

By James Hamblin

Read the full article from The Atlantic, here.

“To look on, inert, as Americans suffer and die is one thing; to deny that it is happening is another. This is a clear and ominous glimpse of how the pandemic will continue to play out if Trump remains in power. During America’s final lurch into the election, the president has become an even darker caricature of himself, laying bare his willingness to abandon Americans’ health and well-being for his own self-preservation. He is now even more dangerous as a vector of disease than when he was actively shedding the virus.”

Racial Capitalism: A Fundamental Cause of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Inequities in the United States

By Whitney N. Laster Pirtle

Read the full article from Health Education & Behavior, here.

“Racial capitalism is a fundamental cause of the racial and socioeconomic inequities within the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in the United States. The overrepresentation of Black death reported in Detroit, Michigan is a case study for this argument. Racism and capitalism mutually construct harmful social conditions that fundamentally shape COVID-19 disease inequities. . .Interventions should address social inequality to achieve health equity across pandemics.”

Eviction is Not the Answer

By Lee Flannery

Read the full article from Planetizen, here.

“Matthew Desmond, director of the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, understands the devastating impact of eviction during a time when unemployment has reached levels to rival those seen during the Great Depression. Demond’s recent opinion piece describes the real-life consequences of insufficient federal rental aid support and a housing crisis that forces the majority of sub-poverty line tenants to allocate over half of their income to rent.”

COVID-19’s Disproportionate Effects on Children of Color Will Challenge the Next Generation

By Faith Mitchell

Read the full article from Urban Wire, here.

“People of color, especially Black and Latino people, are not only more likely to contract COVID-19 and die from it, but they are also disproportionately affected by its economic consequences. Black and Latino adults report high rates of family financial insecurity and hardship. In July, 64 percent of Latino adults, 57 percent of Black adults, and 55 percent of Asian adults who responded to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey said at least one member of their household had lost employment income since March 13.”

The COVID-19 Crisis Continues to Have Uneven Economic Impact by Race and Ethnicity

By Steven Brown

Read the full article from Urban Institute, here.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and related shutdowns have led to the highest unemployment rate nationwide since the Great Depression, nearly a century ago. But the unemployment rate alone does not fully cover how people have been affected. Many are struggling to pay rents or mortgages, are having trouble affording food for themselves and their families, and have lost employer-sponsored health insurance during a still-growing public health crisis. These effects are not shouldered equally; evidence shows the pandemic has more severely affected people of color because of structural racism’s persistent influence.”

The people in power don’t look like the people hit hardest by Covid-19

By Frederika Schouten

Read the full article from CNN here.

“The pandemic, and the broad powers governors can exercise under emergency declarations, has underscored the limits of black political power less than four years after the nation’s first African American president left office. Black mayors now govern 35 cities with populations of 100,000 or more — or a little more than 11% of big cities, according to the African American Mayors Association. But the nation has no black state governors. And only two states have chief executives of color: New Mexico and Hawaii.”

Mass Evictions Predicted as Short-Term Economic Relief Runs Out

By James Brasuell

Read the full article from Planetizen, here.

“Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Buffalo, is featured in an ABC News article about the ongoing risk of mass evictions as the country’s millions of renters collides with tens of millions of new unemployment claims across the country. Taylor said that ‘federal and statewide eviction moratoriums are based on COVID-19 timetables that are ‘too short’ and don’t consider predictions from medical experts that the pandemic could persist into the fall and beyond, as public health officials have suggested,’ according to the article, written by Deena Zaru.”

Black health experts say surgeon general’s comments reflect lack of awareness of black community

By Curtis Bunn

Read the full article from NBC News, here.

“For Dr. Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., a University of Buffalo professor and researcher, there isn’t much of a controversy. The surgeon general missed the mark. And it’s not what he said, but what he did not say. ‘It is irresponsible to talk about the elimination of drugs and alcohol without talking about eliminating the neighborhood-based social determinants that produce drug and alcohol abuse,’ Taylor told NBC News.”

Stop Blaming Black People for Dying of the Coronavirus

By Ibram X. Kendi

Read the full article from The Atlantic, here.

“There is nothing wrong with begging all Americans to take this vicious virus seriously. There is nothing wrong with begging one’s black grandfather or white daughter or Latina sister or Asian father or Native friend to social distance. There is everything wrong with lecturing a racial group to behave better as a solution to racial disparities, as U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams did on Friday during a White House press conference.”

Black Businesses Left Behind in Covid-19 Relief

By Natalie Hopkinson and Andre Perry

Read the full article from CityLab, here.

“The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Cares) package is an attempt to offset an impending recession caused by mandated and voluntary social distancing, which will last until at least April 30. Congress should also pass a relief package for people who’ve suffered from the de jure and de facto social distancing of racial segregation, which still sets African Americans apart from white people today on both a spatial and economic basis.”

A Green Stimulus Plan for a Post-Coronavirus Economy

By Brentin Mock

Read the full article from CityLab, here.

“Congress is already deep in the throes of constructing a large economic recovery bill, to help workers losing income and businesses and governments losing revenue due to the novel coronavirus crisis. But the U.S. Senate is stuck in a debate between Republicans who want to dedicate a quarter of its $1.8 trillion stimulus plan to bailing out corporations, and Democrats who want to ensure strict transparency and oversight over how that $500 billion corporate bailout would be registered.”

A Golden Opportunity for a Green Stimulus

By Kate Aronoff

Read the full article from The New Republic, here.

“Providing both Democratic and Republican talking points—about government waste and excess, for instance—Data for Progress found at least 60 percent of respondents supported the idea of green industrial policy to boost a number of concrete technologies: smart grids, electric buses, renewable energy, battery technology, and building retrofits with a focus on low-income housing. Investments toward underground high-voltage transmission lines and electric minivans and pickup trucks also polled well.”

How Coronavirus Affects Black People: Civil Rights Groups Call Out Racial Health Disparities

By Royce Dunmore

Read the full article from Newsone, here.

“This pandemic reveals a terrifying reality — many Americans don’t even know if they are infected with COVID-19 because they are scared to go to the hospital and receive free tests and treatment that may saddle them with debt that could take years to pay off. After years of Republicans, big pharma and major corporations fighting against paid sick leave legislation and medicare for all we are left with a crisis where disproportionately Black low wage workers are continuing to support the public without the health insurance or paid time off that would make us all safer.”