The impact of COVID-19 is highly visible in our own homes, communities, and across the country. Though many people and organizations are already doing amazing work to support those at the front lines in disease hotbeds, this pandemic is far from over and its effects are hitting some Americans harder than others. Low-income, minority and rural populations are the ones who will suffer the most from virus spread and the pandemic’s aftermath, specifically susceptible to the economic fallout caused by the pandemic. Structural inequalities in healthcare are becoming more apparent as the virus pushes already underfunded local healthcare clinics and safety net hospitals beyond their limits. For example:
- In some states, African-Americans account for a disproportionate amount of COVID-19 cases: In Illinois, African-Americans make up 15 percent of the state’s population, yet account for 43% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.1 In Michigan, African-Americans account for 14% of the population, yet account for 40% of COVID-19 deaths.1
- Status as a racial or ethnic minority correlates with socioeconomic stratification in the U.S., leaving minorities at a disproportionately greater risk of contracting COVID-19: Although minorities only make up 40% of the total U.S. population, they make up 58% of the working class.2 75% percent of essential service industry jobs are low paying, where workers must interact in close physical proximity with coworkers and customers.3 Almost 25% of employed Hispanic and African-Americans work in these jobs, compared to 16% of non-Hispanic whites.4
- Low-income and minority Americans are suffering from job losses and pay cuts at higher rates than other Americans: 61% of Hispanic adults have either lost their jobs or taken a pay cut as a direct result of the spread of COVID-19.3,5 These job losses are creating widespread food insecurity, and due to overwhelming structural inequalities, these groups suffer from higher rates of pre-existing health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19.5
The charities summarized below are Fauci Friday’s first three designated charities. These charities already have sites and infrastructure established within low-income and minority communities that will be able to not only offer immediate assistance, but also provide long-term support to those affected by the disease.
MedShare sources and delivers surplus medical supplies and equipment to communities in need. MedShare also provides biomedical equipment training and service to healthcare organizations and professionals that serve populations in need.
Since WHO declared coronavirus a global health emergency on March 11, 2020, MedShare has donated more than $1.3 million worth of aid, including more than 3.1 million masks and nearly 250,000 isolation gowns to healthcare professionals, clinics, and hospitals in the U.S.
Project Access is the leading provider of vital on-site health, education, and employment services to families, children, and seniors living in affordable housing communities.
Since the pandemic began, Project Access has launched an online Resident Resource Library that connects residents to resources that allow them to address needs like internet access, employment support, and educational resources. Residents can request support and receive a response within 24 hours, and centers have been proactively calling residents to assess their health and needs. Project Access has also been delivering food to seniors, distributing food from food banks to residents, shopping for medicine, food, and cleaning supplies for at risk residents, delivering baby formula and diapers for mothers in need, and delivering books to families with children who would otherwise be in school.
Project HOPE provides direct health care services, equipping clinics and hospitals, training local health care workers, and delivering solutions that help people access the health care services they need.
In the U.S., Project HOPE is delivering PPE to hospitals in New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Puerto Rico. The organization is currently sending its network of medical volunteers from a variety of specialties to help hospitals that urgently need more staffing in the wake of the pandemic. Project HOPE is remotely training doctors and nurses in infection prevention and control, so they can pay it forward and train workers in their local communities on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment. In Puerto Rico, HOPE has provided N95 masks to migrant health centers and is working with partners on the ground to support strained health facilities.
1 The Editorial Board. “How to Save Black and Hispanic Lives in a Pandemic.” The New York Times, 11 Apr. 2020.
2 Povich, Deborah, Brandon Roberts, and Mark Mather. “The Working Poor Families Project: Low-Income Working Families: The Racial/Ethnic Divide.” Working Poor Families Project, 2015. http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org/.
3 Florida, Richard. “The Coronavirus Class Divide in Cities.” CityLab. Bloomberg, April 7, 2020. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/04/coronavirus-risk-jobs-essential-workers-data-class-divide/609529/.
4 “COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 22, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM26555.
5 Parker, Kim, Juliana Menasce Horowitz, and Anna Brown. “About Half of Lower-Income Americans Report Household Job or Wage Loss Due to COVID-19.” Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project, April 21, 2020. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/04/21/about-half-of-lower-income-americans-report-household-job-or-wage-loss-due-to-covid-19/.