Friday, March 13, 2020

Low-Income Communities Are Most at Risk from Coronavirus Outbreak

From Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Human Impact Partners, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California, researches and advocates for policy and systems changes to advance heath equity. Spotlight recently spoke with Lili Farhang, Co-Director of Human Impact Partners, on their work related to economic security, and how it connects to the international outbreak of COVID-19, most commonly known as Coronavirus. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advised the American public to limit social interactions, leading schools to close and some employers allowing their full-time employees to work from home. Although the guidelines aim to prevent the public from contracting the illness, some experts believe that these guidelines don’t afford the same opportunities to part-time employees, home health-care nurses, and low-income service employees who are either required to interact with people to complete their job, or who must physically go to work in order to financially support themselves and their families. 

Concurrently, state and federal laws don’t guarantee employees – either part- or full-time – with paid sick leave, childcare assistance, or adequate medical funding to ensure people are tested and receive the necessary treatment. Farhang discusses these issues as well as policies that might be fast-tracked in order to provide relief for low-income families who will be disproportionately impacted by the outbreak. The conversation has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Here is the interview: