Health News Roundup

1 in 10 Americans don’t have enough food to eat, and more in this week’s roundup

1 in 10 Americans don’t have enough food, double the rate before pandemic
Aimee Picchi, CBS News, July 21
Financial hardship has spiked during the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1 in 10 adults telling a Census survey during the first week of July that they sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat, a rate that is two-and-a-half times higher than before the crisis. Renters are struggling as well, with 1 in 5 adults who rent their homes saying they were behind on their payments for the week of July 7, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which analyzed Census survey data and information from other sources to examine financial strain hitting American households.

Black children are more likely to die after surgery than white counterparts, new study finds
Theresa Gaffney, STAT, July 20
Even among apparently healthy children, Black patients are almost three and a half times more likely to die within a month after surgery than white patients, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. While previous research has explored racial disparities in surgical outcomes between adult patients, researchers in the new study focused specifically on healthy children. In adults, those differences are often attributed to other overlapping health conditions or risks. But even when children had no underlying conditions, Black children still had a higher rate of death and complications after elective and emergency procedures than their white peers.

Dermatology faces a reckoning: Lack of darker skin in textbooks and journals harms care for patients of color
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, July 21
When dermatologist Jenna Lester learned that rashes on skin and toes were a symptom of COVID-19, she started searching the medical literature for images of what the rashes looked like on Black skin so she’d recognize it in her Black patients. She couldn’t find a single picture. The scarcity of images in the COVID-19 literature is just the newest example of the glaring lack of representation of Black and brown skin that has persisted in dermatology research journals and textbooks for decades. The issue is coming under closer scrutiny now as dermatologists, like many physicians, grapple more openly with systemic racism and the health disparities it is causing in their field.

How Larry Hogan kept Blacks in Baltimore segregated and poor
Sheryll Cashin, Politico Magazine, July 18
Politico Magazine tells the story behind Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s decision to cancel plans for a rail line that would connect isolated Black Baltimore neighborhoods to downtown and suburban job centers — and illustrates the ways that structural racism stems from public policy. For decades, governments have spent public funds disproportionately on white communities, particularly those that have more than enough, while excluding Black communities and Black people from government investments — in mortgages, education, infrastructure and other services.