Health News Roundup

Black-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, and more in this week’s roundup

Minority businesses: Wounded by COVID, but key to inclusive revival
Tom Condon, The Connecticut Mirror, December 7
Black-owned businesses, which are vital to inclusive growth, have taken a much harder hit from the pandemic than companies overall, according to a study released in July by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The report estimated that 41 percent of Black-owned businesses across the country shut down between February and April. In the same period, 32 percent of Latinx businesses, 26 percent of Asian businesses and only 17 percent of white-owned businesses closed.

Coronavirus takes toll on Black, Latino child care providers
Christine Fernando, AP News, December 7
Even before the coronavirus, many parents already faced an impossible choice — caring for their children or earning a living. But COVID-19′s impact on the system has worsened that and its effects risk creating “child care deserts,” leaving parents unable to return to work, reducing incomes and taking away early education opportunities crucial for a child’s development. The U.S. child care industry has long relied on Black and Latina women, with women of color making up 40% of its workforce. These women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 with half of minority-owned child care businesses expected to close permanently due to the pandemic according to a July survey from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

12,000 more white children return to NYC schools than Black children
Eliza Shapiro, The New York Times, December 8
As NYC school buildings reopen for in person classes, many families of color are choosing to keep students home while white families are sending their children back to the classrooms. The disparity is raising alarms, given the shortcomings of remote learning. There are nearly 12,000 more white children returning to public school buildings than Black students — even though there are many more Black students than white children in the system overall. Latino students are returning at a rate roughly proportional to their overall representation in the school system. What people are seeing across the country is that many families of color are not ready to send their children back to classrooms in part because of the disproportionately harsh impact the virus has had on their communities.

Social inequities explain racial gaps in pandemic, studies find
Gina Kolata, The New York Times, December 9
Recent studies found that Black and Hispanic patients infected with COVID-19 were no more likely than white patients to end up hospitalized. If hospitalized, Black patients actually had a slightly lower risk of dying. These new studies do not contradict an enormous body of research showing that Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to be affected by the pandemic, compared with white people. The coronavirus is more prevalent in minority communities, and infections, illnesses and deaths have occurred in these groups in disproportionate numbers. But the new studies do suggest that there is no innate vulnerability to the virus among Black and Hispanic Americans. Instead, these groups are more often exposed because of social and environmental factors.

In case you missed it:

Opinion: Done poorly, the rise of telehealth could widen health disparities
Matthew Clair, Brian W. Clair, Walter K. Clair, STAT, June 26 
There’s no question that the expansion of telehealth could be a force for good. These changes may save lives during this pandemic crisis by keeping patients out of health care settings where exposure to COVID-19 may be high. In the post-pandemic era, they could provide greater access and convenience for some patients. But they could also worsen health disparities down the road if not implemented carefully.