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COVID and Socioeconomic Status

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

It’s not astonishing that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, it has disproportionality affected low-income minority groups more so than anyone else. The CDC has states that compared to white non- Hispanic people, minority groups are more likely to be infected, hospitalized, and die from COVID-19. For example, Black or African American, Non-Hispanic persons are infected by COVID at a rate of 2.6x higher than that of a white non- Hispanic person and die at a rate 2.1x higher than that of white non-Hispanics (CDC). There are several reasons for this, all directly related to the conditions many low-income minority populations are under as a result of the systematic factors of poverty.

Poorer communities being more effected by disease is not anything new. The same trends visible now were also seen during AIDs and influenza epidemics. There are many reasons for this that boil down to racial and ethnic minority populations in low-income communities having fewer resources and more exposure to environmental hazards. A lack of access to health care is a long-standing issue that has always disproportionately affected low-income minority groups, and with COVID-19 this has been even more problematic than ever. Black people are significantly less likely to be insured than white people, and over 7 million black people in the Unites States are uninsured (Duckett). Additionally, low-income minority groups often experience chronic stress as a result of the conditions of their lives, and long term stress negatively affects immunity. Constant high stress over work the immune system, increasing inflamation and decreasing white blood cells, and increase the risk of getting a virus (Cleveland Clinic). So not only to low-income minority individuals have a higher susceptibility to infectious diseases, but they also lack the resources needed to fight them off.

Now more than ever it is an important time or policymakers to take action on these issues, and find ways to provide these low-income communities the resources needed to effectively combat this disease. The cost of testing and treatment should be reduced or eliminated, and aid should be provided to individuals who have found themselves unemployed or need time off for medical treatment. Lastly, it is a priority that once a vaccine or preventative measure for COVID-19 be created, low-income communities should be prioritized in receiving it.

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