Principle 17

The consequences of the pandemic should not be disproportionately worse for the economically vulnerable, communities of color, and other under-represented communities.

The Problem

Government officials referred to the novel coronavirus as the great equalizer at the onset of the pandemic, but evidence shows the disparate impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities across the country. Black, Native American and Latino populations have all suffered higher mortality rates when compared to their white counterparts. Black business owners are more likely to be denied coronavirus aid from the federal government than their white peers. Elderly people across all races and ethnicities are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than younger populations. Without reliable, disaggregated data that captures crucial information such as race, ethnicity, age and gender, communities of color and underserved populations will not have the resources to respond to, survive, and ultimately recover from the pandemic.

Recommendations for Short-term Action (First 100 Days)

  1. Address differing needs of communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has affected frontline workers especially hard, with worse outcomes for Black, Hispanic and Native American communities, among others. As a result, impacted communities across the country require varying levels of government support to withstand and ultimately recover from the pandemic. The president should address the social determinants (i.e. where individuals are born, grow, live, work and age) that alter the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable communities. The president also should call for response efforts to address not only immediate needs but also root problems to long-standing inequities, including environmental, social and economic factors, so that all communities are able to sustainably adopt and benefit from public health guidance that can mitigate the effect of the pandemic.

  1. Make publicly available information on both the distribution of government-supported contact tracers and the administration of a coronavirus vaccine (once available).

This data should capture the sociodemographic characteristics of communities where these resources are distributed to encourage equitable distribution.

Recommendations for Long-term Action

  1. Improve preparedness to protect vulnerable populations.

The president should require greater preparedness standards to protect residents and workers in long-term care facilities, senior care facilities, prisons, and other environments particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus.