Representatives from politics, health and education joined in a teleconference on Wednesday to offer vital information about COVID-19 at a time when the country is reopening between a current virus and the lack of social distancing due to protests. massive.
Jim Mangia, president and CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Health Center, said that since the pandemic began, there has been a contrast in the availability of tests between wealthy and poor populations – where African Americans and Latinos usually live.
Concern grows now that these same populations are taking to the streets in crowds to fight against systemic racism and police brutality.
Mangia noted that since before the pandemic, issues like access to healthy food, widespread poverty, lack of access to safe parks and places to play, and lack of access to affordable housing make it extremely difficult to meet demands for care. medical.
"And as we all know, the root of all these disparities is racism and racial justice," he said.
"We must directly acknowledge that racism is a public health crisis in itself and that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed it, even more significantly."
A few weeks ago, they began evaluating asymptomatic patients, regardless of immigration status, and exceeded 500 people per day.
"The vast majority of whom are African-American and Latino," said Mangia.
"Many of the people being tested are undocumented immigrants or are the most vulnerable, like the frontline workers who are most exposed."
Compton among the most affected cities
Micah Ali, president of the Compton Unified School District, said the reality is that diseases like SARS and COVID-19 have put enormous stress on needy communities like Compton.
He said that from March to Monday, June 8, Compton had about 816 cases of coronavirus.
"The disproportionate impacts are due to lack of access to medical care," said Ali.
He added that authorities have consistently seen that a large number of employees in Compton are essential workers and have not stopped going to work, whether in Uber, bus or on foot.
And it's thanks to the help of St. John’s that more Compton residents have had access to get tested.
Senator Holly Mitchell added that it is well known that communities already facing low wages, pre-existing health conditions, instability of housing and food, access to medical care, more clearly showed their experience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And so, as policy makers, we are working every day to not only think about this experience in the narrow framework of a public health pandemic, but also to recognize how all those other life experiences have exacerbated the disease for too many Angelenos. Senator Mitchell said.
She added that she is grateful that a partnership has been created with St. John’s Medical Center and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) as these are places where people feel comfortable.
Protesters should be tested
Mangia said that the message they want to send during these difficult times of pandemic, where thousands of men and women have risen up in protest after the death of George Floyd and against systemic racism, is that everything has led to evidence of the disproportionate number of African Americans and Latinos who become infected with COVID-19 and die.
"So it is important and safe for protesters to undergo the test (to rule out the disease)," he said.
He said that at St. John’s it is their responsibility as healthcare providers to be present for Black Lives Matter protesters and for all communities of color.
"We are here to make sure they stay healthy while keeping up the pressure, so that we can finally have racial justice in the United States," said Mangia.
It is recommended that people have the test whether or not they have symptoms and after three or four days of being exposed to the disease, as it is estimated, the virus takes this time to incubate.
Mangia assured that St. John’s receives people regardless of their immigration status.
To learn more about testing at St. John’s visit: https://www.wellchild.org/covid-19-updates/