Health News Roundup

Why fighting the coronavirus is tough in cities like Hartford, and more in this week’s roundup

Fighting coronavirus is tough in Hartford and other cities, where apartments, crowded buses and extended families make social distancing a challenge 
Rebecca Lurye, The Hartford Courant, April 27
As infections and deaths in cities like Hartford continue to climb, officials are increasingly focusing on how social distancing poses an extra challenge to those navigating multi-generational households, crowded buses, streets dotted with open bodegas and elevators and hallways that make six foot buffers impossible. Many people in the cities are also the pandemic’s first responders and essential workers, risking exposure to the virus every time they head to work in health care, safety, transportation, sanitation and retail. Others are among the hundreds of thousands of people statewide who’ve lost work during the state shutdown, and while they’re tasked with staying home, many now rely on trips to busy food pantries and meal pickups.
Related: In a crowded city, leaders struggle to separate the sick from the well

‘Would this population of caregivers be treated differently if they were white, and male, and wealthy?’
Keith M. Phaneuf, Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, The Connecticut Mirror, April 24
With the coronavirus pandemic ravaging nursing homes across the country, there is a lack of attention being paid to protecting the low-wage workers fighting the virus while caring for the elderly. In CT, more than 1,000 union members – one-seventh of the entire unionized workforce in nursing homes – either have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been quarantined for showing symptoms. A majority of these workers are minority women and there have been questions raised about whether the nursing homes are providing adequate access to protective equipment to keep their workers safe.

Opinion: How COVID-19 is a perfect storm for black Americans
Kenneth R. Alleyne, The Washington Post, April 26
As America fights its war against the novel coronavirus, there is a separate battle being fought by African Americans. This battle finds them outmatched, underresourced, undersupported and undertested. It is a fight none would call fair. Many factors have fueled the racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes: lower access to health care and higher rates of asthma, diabetes and heart disease. There are social, economic and political reasons for these lopsided outcomes. We call them the “social determinants of health.”

CT Latinos suffer high COVID-19 infection rates as their jobs force public interaction 
Ana Radelat, The Connecticut Mirror, April 29
When Wanda Valdez-Jablonecki returns home from her job as a Stop & Shop cashier, she follows the same decontamination routine. First, she takes off her shoes and sprays them with Lysol before she steps into the kitchen. Then she strips off her clothes, sprays the hospital mask she wore with disinfectant and throws her gloves into a special trash can that is lined and has a lid, and uses disinfectant wipes to clean her wallet. Lastly, she takes a shower. She’s adopted the routine because, like many of the state’s Latinos who are still employed in jobs that bring them in close contact with the public, she could pay a high price if she isn’t vigilant during the coronavirus pandemic. Latinos have much higher infection rates than non-Hispanic whites, both in Connecticut and across the nation.

Coronavirus testing data further illustrates racial disparities in CT
Justin Papp, Danbury News-Times, April 25
Data from a new testing center in New Haven, opened by the state in conjunction with Abbott Laboratories and CVS, show that white Connecticut residents tested for the coronavirus returned positive results 8 percent of the time, while black residents tested positive between 30 and 35 percent of the time. Statewide, black people comprise roughly 12 percent of the population, yet have accounted for roughly 19 percent of all confirmed cases (in which a race was reported) and roughly 16 percent of COVID-related deaths.