When approaching a difficult issue, I like to start with the basic definitions so we can begin on the same page.
COVID-19: our public health emergency
Health Disparity: a higher burden of illness injury, disability or mortality experienced by one group relative to another
Health Care Disparity: differences between groups in relation to access, use and quality of care
COVID-19 as a new infection is having a societal effect comparable only to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. The impact of this infection in our community reflects the essence of the definition of health disparity.
African American Chicago Louisiana Michigan
% of population 30 30 14
% of cases 50 60 33
% of deaths 70 71 40
This disproportionate difference is attributable to variables OTHER than access to care. Blacks and probably Latinos are more at risk to get sick and die from COVID-19 as we return to an open society….BASED ON THE NUMBERS ABOVE.
Health care disparity has affected communities of color for generations and that will not magically change in the next few weeks as we continue to fight this epidemic. The very lives of members of our community depend on addressing this health disparity and not blaming our inaction on the existent health care disparity.
As I write this article, the health care disparity for COVID-19 is ON HOLD. I am calling on you to utilize all of the following:
PREVENTION MEASURES (ALL AVAILABLE)
- Wearing a Mask
- Practicing Social Distancing
- Proper Hygiene
TESTING (AVAILABLE AT NO COST)
- MEDICAL CARE (AT PRESENT COVERED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT)
- Inpatient and Outpatient
Let’s continue to do what needs to be done and encourage our community to do the same BEFORE these resources become unavailable.