Coronavirus and Our Communities

The coronavirus outbreak is officially a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Because of the racial and economic inequities embedded in our country’s systems, the effects of the coronavirus could be compounded for Black, Brown, Asian, and indigenous communities, as well as other population groups.The NAACP has released a resource to guide officials responsible for addressing health, economic, and other impacts, in remediating some of the issues that are disproportionately affecting communities of color.

Our policy experts have outlined key considerations and recommendations in containing the spread of the coronavirus. The full guide is available to download here.

10 Impacts of the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak on Communities of Color

  1. Racism and stigmatization have increased, particularly towards the Asian and Asian American populations.
  2. Certain populations including immigrants, incarcerated people, people over 60 years old, people with disabilities, people with special health needs, and others are at an added risk of exposure and other implications.
  3. Frontline workers face tough choices between abstaining from work or risking exposure.
  4. Census and voting may be jeopardized as public outings continue to dwindle.
  5. Coronavirus remediation will result in increased exposure to toxic cleaning chemicals.
  6. Children and college students risk exposure in schools. If schools close, students may experience food or housing insecurities.
  7. There is a lack of accessibility to testing kits.
  8. Quarantine policies and practices are unfolding with a risk to human and civil rights.
  9. The coronavirus has already been used to justify increased militarization and more restrictive immigration policies and practices.
  10. Denial and misinformation on the crisis can worsen the outbreak.

10 Policy Recommendations to Temper the Impact of the Coronavirus on Communities of Color

  1. Shift the narrative surrounding the crisis: “The virus is the enemy, not the person who is infected.”
  2. Adopt policies that increase access to childcare, healthcare and humane, sanitary living conditions to at-risk, vulnerable populations.
  3. Advocate for the establishment of a paid leave system, strengthened OSHA standards, provision of training and safety gear, and routine testing for all workers.
  4. Ensure the data collection for the Census through online and telephone enumeration, extend voting hours, and minimize large gatherings.
  5. Significantly increase the stringency of the Toxic Substances Control Act.
  6. Advocate for equal standards of sanitation, safety, and health as well as education continuity, food assistance for families and the establishment of housing assistance through Stafford Act provisions.
  7. Advocate for funding for an effective health infrastructure, prioritization of testing for vulnerable groups/populations, and equitable distribution of limited hospital supplies.
  8. Establish and enforce a Quarantine Bill of Rights.
  9. Establish sanctuary sites, repeal the travel ban and repeal of the restrictions on the provision of healthcare to immigrants.
  10. Advance litigation for the willful misleading of the public for political gain while jeopardizing the wellbeing of the nation.

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