Health News Roundup

The pandemic’s disproportionate toll on low-income children, and more in this week’s roundup

A teenager didn’t do her online schoolwork. So a judge sent her to juvenile detention.
Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica, July 14
Grace, a 15-year-old in Michigan, was incarcerated during the coronavirus pandemic after a judge ruled that not completing her schoolwork violated her probation. Some experts believe that this case may reflect systemic racial bias. Grace is Black in a predominantly white community and in a county where a disproportionate percentage of Black youth are involved with the juvenile justice system.

Low-income children are most vulnerable to pandemic’s long-term effects
Sujata Srinivasan, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, June 9
Living conditions play a key role in children’s well-being. Several studies show that access to health care, nutritious food and reliable transportation have a direct bearing on childhood outcomes. Now, new reports from the Fairfield-headquartered Save the Children and Brandeis University show that children who are already on the wrong side of the statistical divide are experiencing a higher burden from the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected Blacks and Latino residents disproportionately.

In minority neighborhoods, knocking on doors to stop the spread of the coronavirus
Sarah McCammon, NPR, July 10
Around the country, communities of color continue to be among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. So in many of these communities, local leaders are stepping in to try to help solve a problem they say is years in the making. In Richmond, Va., crews of local firefighters and volunteers have been fanning out across the city, going door to door with plastic bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and information about staying healthy. In Massachusetts, officials are hiring local workers from community health centers to work as contact tracers who can, in many cases, literally speak the language of the people they’re trying to reach.

Opioid overdoses keep surging in Chicago, killing Black people on the west side 

Duaa Eldeib, Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, July 14
Half of the confirmed opioid-related deaths in Chicago’s Cook County have been among Black people, even though Black residents make up less than a quarter of the county’s population. The number of overdose deaths began to rise months before the spread of the coronavirus, but the pandemic has added new challenges, including financial stress, desperation and people using opioids without someone nearby to administer naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug. There have also been fewer people seeking help in the emergency departments.