criminal justice, Healthcare, Social Problems

‘Jails Are Petri Dishes’: Inmates Freed as the Virus Spreads Behind Bars.

Some jails are releasing people to stem outbreaks, but critics say it is not happening quickly enough to save lives and resources.

By Timothy Williams, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum March 30, 2020

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in America’s jails and prisons, where social distancing is impossible and sanitizer is widely banned, prompting authorities across the country to release thousands of inmates in recent weeks to try to slow the infection, save lives and preserve medical resources.

Hundreds of Covid-19 diagnoses have been confirmed at local, state and federal correctional facilities — almost certainly an undercount, given a lack of testing and the virus’s rapid spread — leading to hunger strikes in immigrant detention centers and demands for more protection from prison employee unions.

A week ago, the Cook County jail in Chicago had two diagnoses; by Sunday, 101 inmates and a dozen employees had tested positive for the virus. A nearby Illinois state prison reported a coronavirus-related death on Monday, and Michigan prisons had 78 positive tests. The Rikers Island jail complex in New York City had 167 confirmed cases among inmates by Monday. And at least 38 inmates and employees in the federal prison system have the virus, with one prisoner dead in Louisiana.

Link
Healthcare, Race, Social Problems, Wisconsin

Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate

No, the coronavirus is not an “equalizer.” Black people are being infected and dying at higher rates. Here’s what Milwaukee is doing about it — and why governments need to start releasing data on the race of COVID-19 patients.

by Akilah Johnson and Talia Buford April 3, 1:21 p.m.

Is the United States Prepared for COVID-19? The coronavirus entered Milwaukee from a white, affluent suburb. Then it took root in the city’s black community and erupted. As public health officials watched cases rise in March, too many in the community shrugged off warnings. Rumors and conspiracy theories proliferated on social media, pushing the bogus idea that black people are somehow immune to the disease. And much of the initial focus was on international travel, so those who knew no one returning from Asia or Europe were quick to dismiss the risk.

Link
African-Americans, Healthcare, poverty, Race, Stratification, Wisconsin

Opinion: Social Distancing Is a Privilege. The idea that this virus is an equal-opportunity killer must itself be killed.

By Charles M. Blow Opinion Columnist April 5, 2020

People like to say that the coronavirus is no respecter of race, class or country, that the disease Covid-19 is mindless and will infect anybody it can. In theory, that is true. But, in practice, in the real world, this virus behaves like others, screeching like a heat-seeking missile toward the most vulnerable in society. And this happens not because it prefers them, but because they are more exposed, more fragile and more ill. What the vulnerable portion of society looks like varies from country to country, but in America, that vulnerability is highly intersected with race and poverty.

Early evidence from cities and states already shows that black people are disproportionately affected by the virus in devastating ways. As ProPublica reported, in Milwaukee County, Wis., as of Friday morning, 81 percent of the deaths were black people. Black people make up only 26 percent of that county.

Link
African-Americans, Healthcare, Race, Social Problems

Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States. Data on race and the coronavirus is too limited to draw sweeping conclusions, experts say, but disparate rates of sickness — and death — have emerged in some places. A suspected coronavirus patient was taken into Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx last week.

By John Eligon, Audra D. S. Burch, Dionne Searcey and Richard A. Oppel Jr. April 7, 2020

The coronavirus is infecting and killing black people in the United States at disproportionately high rates, according to data released by several states and big cities, highlighting what public health researchers say are entrenched inequalities in resources, health and access to care. The statistics are preliminary and much remains unknown because most cities and states are not reporting race as they provide numbers of confirmed cases and fatalities. Initial indications from a number of places, though, are alarming enough that policymakers say they must act immediately to stem potential devastation in black communities. The worrying trend is playing out across the country, among people born in different decades and working far different jobs.

Link
criminal justice, Healthcare, Social Problems

Chicago’s Jail Is Top U.S. Hot Spot as Virus Spreads Behind Bars At least 1,324 confirmed coronavirus cases are tied to prisons and jails across the United States, according to data tracked by The Times, including at least 32 deaths. Prisoners hung signs pleading for help in a window of the Cook County jail on Tuesday.

By Timothy Williams and Danielle Ivory April 8, 2020

It started small. On March 23, two inmates in the sprawling Cook County jail, one of the nation’s largest, were placed in isolation cells after testing positive for the coronavirus. In a little over two weeks, the virus exploded behind bars, infecting more than 350 people. The jail in Chicago is now the nation’s largest-known source of coronavirus infections, according to data compiled by The New York Times, with more confirmed cases than the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, a nursing home in Kirkland, Wash., or the cluster centered on New Rochelle, N.Y.

Link
Healthcare, inequality, poverty, Race, Social Problems

Virus Is Twice as Deadly for Black and Latino People Than Whites in N.Y.C. Officials revealed that disparity on Wednesday as they announced that 779 more people in the state had died of the virus, the second straight day that deaths spiked to new highs. Another 779 people in New York State died of the virus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported on Wednesday, the second straight day that deaths have spiked to new highs. Another 779 people in New York State died of the virus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported on Wednesday, the second straight day that deaths have spiked to new highs. By Jeffery C. Mays and Andy Newman April 8, 2020 The coronavirus is killing black and Latino people in New York City at twice the rate that it is killing white people, according to preliminary data released on Wednesday by the city. The disparity reflected longstanding and persistent economic inequalities and differences in access to health care, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday morning. “There are clear inequalities, clear disparities in how this disease is affecting the people of our city,” Mr. de Blasio said. “The truth is that in so many ways the negative effects of coronavirus — the pain it’s causing, the death it’s causing — tracks with other profound health care disparities that we have seen for years and decades.”

Link
Healthcare, Social Problems, Social Safety Net

Medicaid Covers a Million Fewer Children. Baby Elijah Was One of Them. Officials point to rising employment, but the uninsured rate is climbing as families run afoul of new paperwork and as fear rises among immigrants. By Abby Goodnough and Margot Sanger-Katz . Oct. 22, 2019

HOUSTON — The baby’s lips were turning blue from lack of oxygen in the blood when his mother, Kristin Johnson, rushed him to an emergency room here last month. Only after he was admitted to intensive care with a respiratory virus did Ms. Johnson learn that he had been dropped from Medicaid coverage.

Link
African-Americans, Healthcare, inequality, Social Problems

The New Health Care. Race and Medicine: The Harm That Comes From Mistrust. Racial bias still affects many aspects of health care. In 1997, President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore helped Herman Shaw, 94, a Tuskegee Syphilis Study victim, during a news conference. Mr. Clinton apologized to black men whose syphilis went untreated by government doctors. In 1997, President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore helped Herman Shaw, 94, a Tuskegee Syphilis Study victim, during a news conference. Mr. Clinton apologized to black men whose syphilis went untreated by government doctors. By Austin Frakt Jan. 13, 2020. Racial discrimination has shaped so many American institutions that perhaps it should be no surprise that health care is among them. Put simply, people of color receive less care — and often worse care — than white Americans. Reasons includes lower rates of health coverage; communication barriers; and racial stereotyping based on false beliefs. Predictably, their health outcomes are worse than those of whites.

Link
Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, Social Problems, Social Safety Net

Trump Administration Unveils a Major Shift in Medicaid. States will be able to cap a portion of spending for the safety-net program, a change likely to diminish the number of people receiving health benefits through it. Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, center, and administration officials had been seeking to limit the open-ended federal funding that the Medicaid statute requires for months. Seema Verma, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator, center, and administration officials had been seeking to limit the open-ended federal funding that the Medicaid statute requires for months.By Abby Goodnough. Jan. 30, 2020 WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said on Thursday that it would allow states to cap Medicaid spending for many poor adults, a major shift long sought by conservatives that gives states the option of reducing health benefits for millions who gained coverage through the program under the Affordable Care Act. Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said states that sought the arrangement — an approach often referred to as block grants — would have broad flexibility to design coverage for the affected group under Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor that was created more than 50 years ago as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society.

Link
Healthcare, Social Problems, Social Safety Net

Opinion: The Big, Feminist Policy Idea America’s Families Have Been Waiting For

How Universal Family Care could help people throughout their lives.

By Ai-jen Poo and Benjamin W. Veghte

Ms. Poo and Dr. Veghte are architects of Universal Family Care.

June 23, 2019

A vast majority of Americans cannot afford to take care of their families. But they see it as their responsibility, and too often their failure. To get by, they cobble together solutions, even quitting their jobs to look after a newborn or when a parent becomes ill. Things are getting worse as baby boomers age into their 70s. America’s piecemeal and expensive care infrastructure, created a half century ago, has reached a breaking point.

Our organization will unveil a new social insurance program on Monday called Universal Family Care that could fix this crisis. It would provide affordable early child care, paid leave, assistance for people with disabilities and elder care for people of all incomes. We need an integrated approach because no one experiences needs in isolation: We might need help right after an injury, or over the course of our lives to help a disabled family member thrive.

Link