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Insider News: Addressing racial inequality during COVID-19

Posted by AllWays Health Partners blog team on July 09, 2020

Case records released by the CDC show how much of an impact racial inequality has on coronavirus infection rates and outcomes. This week's Insider News contains information about the new data along with ways employers and insurers are addressing the social determinants of health that contribute to these disparities.


The fullest look yet at the racial inequity of coronavirus from The New York Times

Data from the CDC obtained by The New York Times provides a clear view of the ways coronavirus has disproportionately affected Black and Latino communities across America. The case records were released after the Times filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CDC.

The case data shows that over the course of the pandemic Black and Latino people have been three times more likely to become infected with COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from the virus as white people. Experts point to several factors that contribute to these disparities, including:

  • Front-line jobs that can't be done remotely
  • A reliance on public transportation
  • Crowded living situations, including small apartments and multi-generational homes

While underlying health problems and chronic conditions are major contributors in COVID-19 deaths, the case data highlights how privileges like being able to work from home impact a person's likelihood to become sick in the first place. 


Nearly two-thirds of employers focusing more on SDOH because of racial unrest from HealthLeaders

Nearly two-thirds of employers say they will focus more on social determinants of health (SDOH) due to recent social unrest, according to a survey by the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), which found that employers aim to engage in "practical steps aimed at addressing underlying, minority-related health issues" that have been highlighted by recent protests against police brutality and racism. Among the findings:

  • 45% said they would reevaluate benefit design to address health system inequities and an equal amount of respondents pledged to expand access areas of clinics and network providers.
  • Employers also detailed plans for returning employees safely to work and instituting new protections in response to COVID-19. Responses varied in regards to phased returns to work, with some intending to allow work from home for the foreseeable future, others indicating the return to work wouldn't begin until September at the earliest.
  • 88% of employers responded they will require face masks and 94% said they will alter workspaces to allow for social distancing.
  • Most employers (69%) are administering onsite symptom questionnaires and plan on administering employee temperature checks onsite (56%), though one-third said they have no plans to test returning employees for COVID-19.
  • Employer concerns around testing employees for the coronavirus mainly center around the cost aspect, though other worries are based on privacy issues and test accuracy.

6 COVID-19 social determinants of health payers pivoted to meet from Health Payer Intelligence

A recent brief from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) highlighted some of the ways health insurance providers are addressing social determinants of health during the pandemic. Many insurers are working to:

  • Provide virtual access to care and telemedicine
  • Address food insecurity and limited transportation
  • Establish field hospitals to support homeless populations
  • Help members secure employment
  • Gather population health data to identify vulnerable groups

Mindful parenting webinar

The next webinar in our community-focused series will take place on Wednesday, July 29, at 12 PM EST. 

Parents have a lot on their plates right now trying to manage during the pandemic, keeping kids occupied and teaching our children in a difficult world. Sheri Damon, LMHC will offer attendees strategies to stay present with their children while role modeling self-care.

Anyone is welcome to attend these sessions. Sign up here.

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Topics: Insider News, COVID-19

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