Health News Roundup

Childhood lead poisoning a side effect of COVID lockdowns, and more in this week’s roundup

More childhood lead poisoning is a side effect of COVID lockdowns
Emily Anthes, The New York Times, March 11
When COVID-19 cases spiked last spring, lockdowns and day care closures confined young children to their homes, where lead exposure can be particularly high. The growing national emergency also delayed lead-removal efforts and disrupted routine childhood lead screenings, leaving health officials unable to identify and treat many children living in lead-laden homes. Children of color, and those who live in low-income neighborhoods, are particularly likely to be exposed to lead. Those same communities have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus and may have faced the biggest obstacles in receiving pediatric checkups last year.

‘You were an angel’: Community health worker helps Stamford COVID patient in distress
Brianna Gurciullo, Stamford Advocate, March 13
Adriana Rosario knew something wasn’t right. Rosario, a community health worker, had come to drop off food for her client, José López, who had COVID-19. She quickly discovered his oxygen saturation level was very low and convinced him that they should call 911. Now out of the hospital, López credits Rosario with saving his life. Stamford’s community health worker program is a partnership between nonprofit group Family Centers and the city’s health department and has so far helped 280 families — about 1,000 individuals. The health workers offer assistance to residents, especially members of underserved communities, who have contracted COVID-19.

At an urban church, a prayer for greater COVID-19 vaccine access and outreach
Mark Pazniokas, The Connecticut Mirror, March 15 
With eligibility restrictions and vaccine supply receding as obstacles, access and outreach are expected to quickly become the keys to closing the gap in vaccination rates between neighborhoods of the white and well-to-do and struggling communities of color. “In ZIP codes in Black America, the polling sort of shows that there’s a shift towards people wanting to get the vaccine, but it’s just not as easy” to get it, said Dr. Ohm Deshpande, who is overseeing Yale New Haven Health’s vaccination efforts. “It’s access and eligibility. So we’re really focused on, number one, doing all the outreach and education we can, but also making it as easy to get the vaccine in a number of different places.”
Related: Fair Haven launches door-to-door campaign to bring more equity in COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Nicole Leonard, Connecticut Public Radio, March 15

Black women’s health problems during menopause haven’t been a focus of medicine. Experts and activists want to change that.
Sarah Vander Schaaff, The Washington Post, March 6
As they mark life’s milestones, Black women, by many measures, have worse health outcomes than white women. They experience higher rates of infant and maternal mortality, lower rates of cervical and ovarian cancer survival, and less access to hospice care. Even menopause is different, with Black women experiencing more hot flashes and night sweats than white women. Although a two-decade study of women of different races and ethnicities has provided insight into the health problems related to menopause and aging, questions persist about how the health of Black women during and after menopause, particularly their experience of hot flashes, is affected by their lived experience.

Opinion: We Did Not Suffer Equally 
Yaryna Serkez, The New York Times, March 11
In America, your experience of lockdown — and of the pandemic as a whole — depended not on luck or chance or fortune. It was instead largely foretold by something far more prosaic: the position you held on the socioeconomic spectrum, by your class, race and gender. Across so many issues, the pandemic is not a story of an infection curve rising and falling, but two lines moving in different directions.