Case Report - January 8, 2021

You're reading Case Report, a digest of our expert network's best research, analysis, and policy recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a new year, and though the vaccine rollout has begun in earnest, the coronavirus crisis is as bad as ever. The people who have been suffering the most during this pandemic continue to bear the brunt of the virus’ destruction. And the distribution of the vaccine has been slower than expected. In this Case Report, SSN members highlight how different communities, from incarcerated people or drug users to Black health workers or Spanish-speakers, are faring in this moment. 

It decimated our staff’: Covid ravages Black and brown health workers in US
COVID-19 has already taken a disproportionate toll on Black and Latino Americans. Those disparities now also extend to Black health care workers, who, according to sociologist Adia Wingfield, tend to seek out public-sector care where they know they’ll be treating communities of color. [The Guardian]

States Say They’re Decarcerating, Yet 1 in 5 Prisoners Has Had COVID
Incarcerated populations are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, but states’ promises to decarcerate their prisons have gone largely unfulfilled, notes criminal justice scholar Nazgol Ghandnoosh. And even when states have released incarcerated people, Ghandnoosh argues that it’s impossible to know how many releases were actually influenced by the pandemic and how many were previously scheduled. [Truthout]

'We're Not Against It:' COVID-19 Vaccine Poses Questions For Iowa's Spanish-Speakers
Diving into the history behind vaccine hesitancy among Spanish-speakers, historian Lina-Maria Murillo explains that the forced sterilization of thousands of Spanish-speaking women in the 1970s and 80s has caused a catastrophic rift between them and health professionals, breeding distrust that often stays with a community for generations. [Iowa Public Radio]

What’s behind the historic spike in drug overdose deaths under COVID-19
The opioid crisis “got a heckuva lot worse” during COVID-19, says psychologist Keith Humphreys, who predicts that the stressors of the pandemic will continue to contribute to skyrocketing overdose rates in the months following the vaccine rollout. [PBS]

'Hellish': Covid deaths have struck younger Latinos. Here's the economic, social fallout.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 has killed more than 54,000 Latinos as of December 23rd, and that’s likely an undercount. Commenting on this dire situation, political scientist Gabriel Sanchez notes that the only silver lining he sees is an increased awareness of what can happen when people don’t have access to basic necessities, like health care and the internet - something that will need to be fixed to have a full economic recovery. [NBC News]