Health News Roundup

The children who lack internet now face barriers in access to education and health care, and more in this week’s roundup

Health care and education suffer when there’s no internet access 
Kate Farrish, Connecticut Health Investigative Team. August 14
This summer, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and philanthropists have focused attention on Connecticut’s digital divide in access to online education. Still, health care leaders say the divide is causing a health crisis as well. When schools closed in March, a large number of families had no internet access at home. The school system quickly tackled the problem of remote learning, but the connectivity issue also limited many families’ access to health care and mental health care. The state Department of Education reports that 29,000, or 6%, of Connecticut students lack internet access at home. The rate is closer to 10% in the 10 lowest-performing districts.

She was pregnant with twins during COVID. Why did only one survive?
Emily Bobrow, The New York Times, August 6
Across the United States, Black women are three to four times more likely to die of childbirth-related causes than white women. In New York City, however, Black women are eight to 12 times more likely to die. Black infants in the city are also three times more likely to die than white newborns — a gap that is nearly 50 percent greater than the national average. Researchers say most of these deaths are preventable. Whatever the underlying causes, it seems clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse.

US reports show racial disparities in kids with COVID-19
Mike Stobbe, The Connecticut Post, August 8
Racial disparities in the U.S. coronavirus epidemic extend to children, according to new government reports. One of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports looked at children with COVID-19 who needed hospitalization. Hispanic children were hospitalized at a rate eight times higher than white kids, and Black children were hospitalized at a rate five times higher. The second report examined cases of a rare virus-associated syndrome in kids. It found that nearly three-quarters of the children with the syndrome were either Hispanic or Black, well above their representation in the general population.

Pandemic worsens ‘already fragile’ situation for homeless youth and young adults 
Sujata Srinivasan, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, August 18
A new Connecticut statewide survey by the Youth & Young Adult Taskforce of the Reaching Home Campaign found that 100% of the 25 respondents experiencing homelessness or housing instability reported a worsening of their situation post-pandemic. The youngsters, all under the age of 25, consisted of 72% Black, 20% Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin, and 28% white individuals. Slightly more than 50% experienced eviction or are at risk for eviction, and 40% experienced family violence or physical abuse.

As COVID-19 cases in prisons climb, data on race remain largely obscured 
Eileen Guo, STAT, August 20
COVID-19 deaths among prison inmates and correction officers keep rising, nationwide. While the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black and brown people in the general population has been well-documented, the racial breakdown of cases in correctional facilities remains largely obscured. Only four states are proactively reporting any demographic data in incarcerated populations. Public health experts warn that the huge gap in data could impede the response to outbreaks among those behind bars.