ThinkGlobalHealth reports on the social determinants of health driving COVID-19 inequities in the US: “Income tends to be the biggest predictor of differences in health outcomes, and it is no different for COVID-19. Among Medicare beneficiaries, individuals whose income was low enough to make them eligible for Medicaid were four times more likely to be infected or hospitalized with COVID-19 than those on Medicare alone. As the pandemic confronts people around the country with economic uncertainty, it is unsurprising that income would influence their vulnerability to COVID-19. The United States already has the highest income inequality among the G-7 countries, and income inequality in the country has steadily risen since 1980. Further, as of 2018, households at the top 10 percent had incomes about 13 times that of households at the bottom 10 percent. Race is also a major determinant of health outcomes, and the pandemic has amplified the connection. Black Americans are dying from COVID-19 at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, and American Indian, Native, Asian, Hispanic, and Latinx people are also dying at disproportionate rates. In high-poverty areas, these racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality are even starker: poor counties with substantial non-white populations have a death rate more than nine times greater than poor counties with substantial white populations. COVID-19 has laid bare the tragic reality that it is bad for your health to be poor in the United States, and it is even worse to be a poor person of color.”
The LA Times reports on racial inequities in the Los Angeles region’s vaccine rollout. “Just weeks into California’s rocky rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, evidence is emerging of inequities in who is getting the medicine, prompting growing demands that vulnerable communities receive more attention. Los Angeles County officials said they are concerned about low vaccination numbers among healthcare workers in South L.A. and other communities of color, while advocates for essential workers worry that California’s new vaccine priority plan slows their ability to get inoculated despite the dangers inherent in their jobs. The county Department of Public Health released demographic data Tuesday showing a significantly lower rate of vaccinations for healthcare workers who live in South L.A., home to large populations of Black and Latino residents, compared with other regions. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors that her agency was “particularly concerned” about the low vaccination rate among healthcare workers living in South L.A. In response, the county will open six vaccination sites there, including at the outpatient center at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, St. John’s Well Child & Family Center and three Rite Aid pharmacies.”
The BBC reports that heavy use of social media can damage young people’s mental health. “Heavy social media use was linked to negative wellbeing and self-esteem, regardless of a young person's mental state, with more girls experiencing feelings of depression and hopelessness. “Those who feel worse may turn to social media for solace or community,” Dr Amy Orben, research fellow at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, said of the research. “It’s not a vacuum, it works both ways."’
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has appointed the district’s first director of gun violence prevention. “During a news conference Thursday morning, Bowser announced the appointment of Linda Harllee Harper to the position of Director of Gun Violence Prevention – the city's first-ever position focused on the issue. Harper currently serves as the Senior Deputy Director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in the District; a cabinet-level agency serving youth impacted by the DC Juvenile Justice System. Harper started her career with DC Public Schools (DCPS) as a Substance Abuse Prevention Intervention Coordinator at the former Oak Hill Youth Center. Harper has successfully led and supported reform efforts in the District’s Juvenile Justice System for more than 15 years. Bowser said Harper will handle "strategic development review and implementation of our gun violence prevention efforts."