The Washington Post reports on how the politicization of the pandemic response has undermined trust in science and public health. “This has been the 2020 pattern: Politics has thoroughly contaminated the scientific process. The result has been an epidemic of distrust, which further undermines the nation’s already chaotic and ineffective response to the coronavirus.”
A new study, Racial and Ethnic Inequities in Children's Neighborhoods: Evidence from the New Child Opportunity Index 2.0, analyzes the “racial and ethnic dimensions of opportunity hoarding and sharing… Neighborhoods influence children’s health, so it is important to have measures of children’s neighborhood environments. Using the Child Opportunity Index 2.0, a composite metric of the neighborhood conditions that children experience today across the US, we present new evidence of vast geographic and racial/ethnic inequities in neighborhood conditions in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the US. Child Opportunity Scores range from 20 in Fresno, California, to 83 in Madison, Wisconsin. However, more than 90 percent of the variation in neighborhood opportunity happens within metropolitan areas. In 35 percent of these areas the Child Opportunity Gap (the difference between Child Opportunity Scores in very low- and very high-opportunity neighborhoods) is higher than across the entire national neighborhood distribution. Nationally, the Child Opportunity Score for White children (73) is much higher than for Black (24) and Hispanic (33) children. To improve children’s health and well-being, the health sector must move beyond a focus on treating disease or modifying individual behavior to a broader focus on neighborhood conditions. This will require the health sector to both implement place-based interventions and collaborate with other sectors such as housing to execute mobility-based interventions.
National Public Radio interviewed Dr. William Spriggs of Howard University on rising poverty levels among communities of color as COVID-19 relief languishes. “We know that spells of poverty permanently scar children because they fall behind on so many dimensions. And that's why it's necessary that we stop this economic pain as soon as possible. It's a long-term scarring for our economy, not just the scarring that we're having immediately, which is very deep to our labor market.”
The New York Times reports on the likely fallout from a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade: “Today, there is at least one abortion clinic in every state, and most women of childbearing age live within an hour’s drive or so of one, the analysis found. Without Roe, abortion would probably become illegal in 22 states. Forty-one percent of women of childbearing age would see the nearest abortion clinic close, and the average distance they would have to travel to reach one would be 280 miles, up from 36 miles now. As distances to clinics increase, abortion rates decline, research shows. Women who can’t afford to travel to a legal clinic or arrange child care or leave from work for the trip are most affected. Also, remaining clinics would not necessarily be able to handle increased demand. Without Roe, the number of legal abortions in the United States would be at least 14 percent lower, Professor Myers and her colleagues estimated. That could mean about 100,000 fewer legal abortions a year, they found. The number is impossible to predict precisely because new clinics could open on state borders, and some people may order abortion pills by mail or obtain illegal surgical abortions, which may be dangerous.”
The Guardian interviews Jean Reith Schroedel, author of Voting in Indian Country, on how the voting rights of Native American communities have been violated in the past and today. “The rights of indigenous communities – including the right to vote – have been systematically violated for generations with devastating consequences for access to clean air and water, health, education, economic opportunities, housing and sovereignty. Voter turnout for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives is the lowest in the country, and about one in three eligible voters (1.2 million people) are not registered to vote, according to the National Congress of American Indians…. [Schroedel says] ‘One thing few Americans understand is that American Indians and Native Alaskans were the last group in the United States to get citizenship and to get the vote. Even after the civil war and the Reconstruction (13th, 14th and 15th) amendments there was a supreme court decision that said indigenous people could never become US citizens, and some laws used to disenfranchise them were still in place in 1975. In fact first-generation violations used to deny – not just dilute voting rights – were in place for much longer for Native Americans than any other group. It’s impossible to understand contemporary voter suppression in Indian Country without understanding this historical context.’”