Movement restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 leave many historically disadvantaged groups more at risk for a host of negative early-stage “happiness” outcomes. of the pandemic – supporting the idea that “racism is a public health issue,” said a study published this week. The JAMA network is open.
According to the study, each 10% decrease in mobility by state was associated with higher rates of mental health problems, unemployment, undernourishment, and school dropouts. The authors analyzed data from more than 1 million total respondents to the 2020 Household Conflict Survey from April 23 to July 21, 2020, with an average of 90,693 respondents weekly. .
Compared to high-income white men, low-income blacks, Hispanics, and low-income women of all races and races in general are at risk of experiencing negative outcomes such as unemployment, mental health problems, shortages of food, default on rent or mortgage from the previous month, lack of access to essential medical care, and in-person class cancellations without Distance learning, research shows.
The authors said they looked at results beyond the “conventional bounds of health and wellness”, based on the perception that factors such as unemployment and housing disparity may be “the driving force behind upstream health.”
“These findings support the notion that racism is a public health issue,” the authors write. They added: “Public health policies that include ignoring existing risk allocations to well-being could be associated with increased racial / ethnic inequality, based on sex. and based on income ”, if they do not target the necessary relief those who have been marginalized in history.
‘Racism is not only discrimination against a group based on their skin color or race or ethnicity, but also structural barriers affecting different racial and ethnic groups. to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they gather in the community. ”
The JAMA Network Open study is the latest evidence that the pandemic has had a huge impact on people of color, low-income Americans and women. Black and Hispanic women has been particularly hit by job loss, for example, during a pandemic force millions of women out of the workforce.
In the latest study, low-income people have the highest risk of all of the negative outcomes, and low-income blacks have the highest risk for most of them. “Women make up 60% of these groups at highest risk; Of these, African American women are at the greatest risk to happiness, ”the authors added, noting that high-income black women also face a high risk of inaccessibility. health care service.
Low-income white women are most at risk of inaccessible health care and are also more likely to have mental health problems.
The authors support race, gender, and income-conscious policies to target relief, and argue that support for Americans most vulnerable to well-being risks “should not have an end. arbitrary push, which should continue until the economic indicators forecast “a strong recovery. “
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rochelle Walensky said this week that “racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans,” and as a result the health of the nation as a whole. She points to the disproportionate loss of the pandemic to communities of color, tracing the racial health disparity back to the structural inequality that has existed for generations.
“Racism is not just discrimination against a group based on color or race or ethnicity, but also structural barriers affecting different racial and ethnic groups. to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they gather in the community, ”she said.
Walensky has launched a number of CDC efforts to address this problem, including continuing research on the so-called Social factors determine health and new investments and expansion of COVID-19 funding for minority communities to address coronavirus-related disparities.