With many states pursuing ill-advised COVID-19 reopening plans in defiance of scientific recommendations and their own surging infection numbers, in recent weeks it’s become clear the pandemic hasn’t loosened its grip on the United States. In case you missed it, here are a few of Prism’s recent stories covering the impact of the resurgent virus on some of the most vulnerable communities.
During pandemic, incarcerated people face low funds, few job opportunities, and poor access to care (Rahsaan “New York” Thomas)
In California prisons, only those with essential jobs have been allowed to work since mid-March. There are no stimulus or unemployment checks for incarcerated people. For Michael Calvin Holmes, who is serving a life sentence at San Quentin State Prison, the extended lack of an income threatens to leave him and many others without critical resources. “I’m living off the state,” the 62-year-old Black man said.
“I’ve lived here for just over three years. I’ve established a home, career, a relationship here,” said Taylor. “I cannot fathom having to leave at this point. I’ve sacrificed enough as it is just to be here, and would hate to have to leave due to circumstances beyond my control. I was hoping to apply for a green card soon, but I’ve been told that is just impossible. My heart truly goes out to other immigrants, especially immigrants of color and those with dependents. It’s never easy to start a new life anywhere, but for immigrants there is seemingly so much more to lose.”
“One thing that feels similar to COVID, at least potentially, is that during the HIV crisis there were some lives that didn’t matter, because in the early days the people getting it were what were often called the ‘Four H’s’—homosexuals, Haitians, heroin addicts, and hemophiliacs—so no one paid attention,” said public health expert Anne Donnelly, who has worked in HIV/AIDS advocacy for decades after losing many of her closest friends to the virus.
COVID-19 has intensified the need for trauma-informed care (Tiffany Onyejiaka)
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to factors that have increased the trauma faced by marginalized populations. Factors such as disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19-related unemployment and death have particularly affected individuals of marginalized backgrounds. According to Dr. James Rodriguez Ph.D, at New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, everyone is exposed to this disaster in some way, but vulnerable groups are likely to feel the impacts of the pandemic more deeply than others. People from disempowered racial groups, particularly those who are low income, have historically borne the brunt of most systemic stressors, and COVID-19 is just intensifying that.
Keep reading Prism for more original reporting and commentary that centers the perspectives of impacted people. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Daily Kos to make sure you never miss a story. See you next week.