The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, February 09, 2021 1:00 am

Survey confirms virus inequities

IU report: Blacks, Latinos suffering more than whites


A new Indiana University survey found the non-health impacts of COVID-19 fell harder on Hoosiers already suffering from societal inequalities.

The study by Brea Perry, Brian Aronson and Bernice Pescosolido showed people of color, those of Latin American descent and those with lower levels of formal education – all known to be in more precarious life circumstances before COVID-19 – were most affected by the pandemic.

The study was done last year using data from before the pandemic and during the height of the first wave of pandemic stay-at-home orders. The journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is publishing the work.

The researchers looked at layoffs, job loss and housing, food and financial insecurity.

Black adults were three times as likely as whites to report food insecurity, being laid off or unemployed. Fifty-five percent of Blacks reported food insecurity, six times the percentage for all Hoosiers before the pandemic, the data showed.

Additionally, residents without a college degree were twice as likely to report food insecurity compared with those with some college credits. Those without a high school diploma were four times as likely to report it, compared with those with a bachelor's degree.

About 75% of Blacks and Latinos reported financial insecurity, compared with about 50% of whites. About 25% of Blacks experienced housing insecurity, compared with about 20% each for whites and Latinos.

Blacks also indicated a higher likelihood of losing a job or being laid off – about 1 in 5 – compared with about 1 in 4 Latinos and 1 in 12 whites.

Among all groups, being unemployed before the pandemic was significantly associated with pandemic-related unemployment.

“This suggests that the pandemic has disproportionately threatened the economic security of those already vulnerable and disadvantaged,” the researchers concluded.

They said the results mirror findings in other natural and economic disasters.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exposes patterns of marginality that leave some individuals and families existing in a state of permanent emergency – continually exposed to hardship, unable to protect themselves in crisis, and less resilient to major setbacks,” the researchers concluded.

Statistics issued Monday by the Indiana Department of Health show 1,065 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 58 new deaths, bringing the total cases to 670,744 and total deaths to 11,459, plus 416 suspected coronavirus deaths based on diagnosed symptoms but without positive test results on file.

Allen County's confirmed cases increased by 68 on Monday, bringing the reported total to 34,579. Deaths were unchanged at 580.


Kosciusko County ends Saturday testing site

A COVID-19 testing site in Kosciusko County is eliminating Saturday hours and adding a bilingual vaccine registration hotline.

The testing site at the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds will continue to offer free tests 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Tests are available to anyone ages 2 and older. Patients do not need a doctor's referral, insurance of residence in Kosciusko County.

The site has provided 13,681 tests since October but has seen a steady decline in people requesting Saturday appointments.

For more information, call 574-372-3517 or 574-372-2353. Hotline operators can assist in scheduling vaccinations for people without computers and those uncomfortable using one.

The free hotline number is 574-347-4256 and operates 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday. If the call volume is high, callers might be asked to leave contact information so their calls can be returned.

The hotline is provided by Bowen Center and Bowen Health Clinic on behalf of the Kosciusko County Health Department with support from the city of Warsaw and the K21 Health Foundation.

– Rosa Salter Rodriguez, The Journal Gazette

New cases

Adams: 2

Allen: 68

DeKalb: 20

Huntington: 16

Kosciusko: 5

LaGrange: 0 Noble: 16 (1 death)

Steuben: 5

Wabash: 7 (3)

Wells: 8 (1)

Whitley: 8

Sources: Indiana State Department of Health, Allen County Department of Health, DeKalb County Health Department

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