Health News Roundup

The physical and mental health consequences of eviction uncertainty, and more in this week’s roundup

‘How am I going to make it?’ Months of eviction uncertainty are taking a toll on millions of families 
Alejandro de la Garza, Time, September 21
Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Marlenis Zambrano is out of money. A 48-year-old single mother in Virginia, she tried her best to get by after being furloughed from her Defense Department daycare job in March by selling homemade face masks and empanadas to help support her two dependent children, both in college. She twice applied for housing relief from Arlington County, but was denied. If she stops paying rent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s evictions moratorium should help keep her and her family housed at least until 2021. But with debt piling up and no further financial relief in sight, she feels the CDC rule has merely delayed the inevitable. In order to keep a roof over their heads, families like hers may have to compromise on food, energy and health care bills.
Related: Six months into pandemic, just two families have received aid from state’s rental assistance program, Jaqueline Rabe Thomas, The Connecticut Mirror, September 23

Fears about Covid-19 are complicating care for patients with sickle cell
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, September 17
The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated care for many diseases, and it’s hit those with sickle cell disease particularly hard, pausing clinical trials and making it harder for some patients to connect with a provider. Patients with the condition are immunocompromised and considered at high risk for serious complications. For some, telemedicine has been a blessing because it has made it easier to make appointments and get refills on medications while allowing them to avoid potential COVID-19 exposure in a hospital.

The mental health struggle of America’s Black teachers 
Rainier Harris, Elemental, September 22
Teresa Lawrence is one of many Black teachers who, like their Black students, are dealing with the disproportionate impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and videos of police brutality across the country — making this school year an especially difficult one to navigate. Teachers like Lawrence are devoting their energy to their students’ needs while also dealing with their own underlying conditions and racist systems that make them especially at risk of COVID-19 if in-person instruction resumes. These dual tragedies are taking a toll on the mental health of Black teachers across the country.

Housekeepers face a disaster generations in the making
David Segal, The New York Times, September 18
Maria Del Carmen, a native of Mexico, has spent the last 24 years as a housekeeper in Philadelphia and had a dozen regular clients before the pandemic began. By April, she had three. Food banks became essential to feeding herself and her three children. To earn extra money, she started selling face masks stitched on her sewing machine. The pandemic has had devastating consequences for a wide variety of occupations, but housekeepers have been among the hardest hit, with many of them being undocumented and not receiving government assistance. Seventy-two percent of them reported that they had lost all of their clients by the first week of April.

The coronavirus pandemic may lead to an uptick in cancer deaths
Eileen Drage O’Reilly, Axios, September 17
Doctors are concerned the coronavirus pandemic is going to lead to an uptick in cancer incidence and deaths — and exacerbate racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities seen with the disease. The pandemic has hit under-resourced safety net hospitals, where many vulnerable communities and minority patients receive their cancer care, the hardest. The U.S. has made recent advances in lowering cancer deaths — including narrowing the gap between different race and ethnicities in both incidence and death rates. But the pandemic could reverse some of these advances.