Politico reports on “the most lopsided economic event imaginable”: how the next wave of evictions disproportionately threatens Black and Latino families, who are more likely to be renters and more likely to be hard hit by the pandemic and its economic fallout. “The majority of the up to 17 million households at risk of losing their homes this winter are comprised of people of color,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition… The Centers for Disease Control’s nationwide ban on eviction for the nonpayment of rent expires Dec. 31, and housing advocates expect landlords — many of whom are themselves hurting for cash and challenging the ban in court — to rush to initiate eviction proceedings in the three weeks before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. The lapse could push millions of struggling tenants into the streets in the middle of winter amid a dramatic surge in the virus. Inevitably, more of those people will get sick: A recent study of states that had lifted their eviction bans between March and September found that “evictions may accelerate COVID-19 transmission” by forcing people to move into cramped quarters with others — or out on the street. The study linked the end of eviction moratoria in 27 states to “433,700 excess cases and 10,700 excess deaths” from the virus.”
US News and World Report covers new research showing that suicides among Black people “doubled during COVID-19 lockdowns, while suicides in white individuals were cut in half during the same period. In past pandemics, there has been noted rises in suicide, and the COVID-19 pandemic seemed like the perfect storm for suicide given its economic impact, the fear of illness, increased stress and reduced access to care," explained study author Dr. Paul Sasha Nestadt. He's an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Baltimore. But this wasn't the case with the coronavirus pandemic, at least not among the Marylanders followed in this study. "There were no increase in suicides in general as we expected, but we did see suicides in Blacks almost double," Nestadt said. The findings, which were published online Dec. 16 in JAMA Psychiatry, suggest that the Black community may have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and its economic consequences. "Infection and fatality rates are higher among Black people, and we know that there are huge disparities in access to care, including mental health care," Nestadt said. This is a recipe for bad outcomes. "When someone is struck hard by things around the pandemic and they can't get access to good mental health care, they are in the most danger," he explained.
The Minnesota Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force has reported back on its findings: “Native American women and girls are far more likely than other Minnesota residents to be victims of homicide, go missing or experience others forms of violence, according to a task force established last year to address the crisis. American Indian women and girls make up less than 1% of the state’s population, yet they accounted for 8% of all women and girls slain in Minnesota from 2010 through 2018… The report released Tuesday notes that about 15% of Minnesota’s female missing persons cases every month are American Indian women and girls. From 27 to 54 Native American women were missing in Minnesota in any given month from 2012 to 2020, the report states. Their cases are usually poorly investigated and remain unsolved, the group says… The task force recommends 20 steps to address the problem, including passage of the 2020 Violence Against Women Act. It also suggests the creation of an MMIW office and the expansion of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Law to include all trafficking victims, not just those who are 24 and younger.”
The New York Times reports on NYC’s experiment with open streets, open restaurants, and open storefronts, and the potential to make some changes introduced in response to the pandemic permanent. “City officials handed over 83 miles of roadway to cyclists, runners and walkers, allowed nearly 11,000 restaurants to stretch onto sidewalks and streets and let retailers expand their storefronts beyond their front doors. People reclaimed the pavement and are, by and large, unwilling to give it back.”
California is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 infections, hospitalization, and deaths: “The most populous US state has recorded more than 1,000 deaths in the last five days. Its overall case total now tops 1.7 million, a figure nearly equal to Spain’s and only surpassed by eight countries. The state’s overall death toll has reached 21,860… Officials fear the state may not be seeing its worst days yet. Models posted online by the California department of public health predict that California’s hospitals over the next four weeks could be overflowing with 75,000 patients, about five times the current level. An average of 400 people could die every day.”