Advancing Health Equity during COVID-19
Learn about systemic inequalities that affect health and COVID-19 risk and exposure — and what you can do to help.
Masks. Social Distancing. Temperature checks. Work from home. Remote learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all our lives. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic communities in the U.S. are being disproportionately affected – meaning the risk of getting sick and dying are greater – due to several social factors.1
By understanding the causes of these social disparities — including the systemic bias and inequities that create barriers to health — we can take the first step toward positive change.
Here’s a look at the factors driving the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and some ideas about how you can help make a difference:
Lack of healthcare access
People from some racial and ethnic minority groups are more likely to be uninsured, the CDC reports. This often impacts whether they seek preventive care or treatment.
In fact, healthcare access can be limited by several factors, including lack of transportation, childcare, communication and language barriers, cultural differences between patients and providers, and historical and current discrimination in healthcare systems, the CDC says. Geographic location can also have a role in healthcare disparities, limiting options and access.
Occupation as essential worker
Unemployment rates have been staggering during the pandemic. However, a higher proportion of Black workers have lost their jobs, especially Black women. And those who haven’t lost their jobs are more likely to be on the front lines in essential jobs such as those in healthcare facilities, farms, factories, grocery stores, and public transportation.
Overall, Black people make up 13 percent of the total population, but Black workers make up 26 percent of all public transit workers and 19 percent of all childcare and social service workers.
People of color are disproportionately more concentrated in the lower-education brackets and entered the COVID-19 crisis with fewer financial resources.4,5
Because of systemic inequalities, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to miss rent payments, be evicted or end up homeless.4,5
Twice as many Black and Latino individuals are not paying rent during the pandemic, and many minorities are turning to sharing of housing which leads to higher infection rates as families cluster together.4,5
Discrimination in our longstanding institutions
From healthcare to education, criminal justice to finance and housing, racism and discrimination exist in American institutions and systems that are designed to protect a person’s health and well-being, the CDC says. Minorities must deal with discriminatory practices that affect their stress level and shape other socioeconomic factors, making them more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, the CDC says.
Gaps in education, income and wealth
Studies show Black and Latino Americans lack access to high quality education, have higher drop-out rates and must face more barriers to college entrance. While 91 percent of white kindergarteners graduate from high school, only 62 percent of Latino and 52% of Black kindergartners go on to receive high school diplomas.
Less education often leads to less earning power and more struggles to obtain quality housing, jobs and healthcare – all factors that contribute to higher COVID-19 exposure.
P&G is stepping up to support people and communities amidst COVID-19
For generations, P&G has united to support consumers and communities through unexpected challenges, providing brands people count on to take care of their personal health and hygiene and to create healthy homes. Amidst COVID-19, we’re answering the call to do even more to ensure we’re protecting P&G people, serving our consumers and supporting communities.
After all, a virus doesn’t discriminate. But circumstances do.
10 things you can do to help support public health and those at greater risk of COVID-19
- Wear a mask in public.
- Practice social distancing.
- Call or video chat to help family, friends and neighbors feel socially connected, and less lonely, or isolated.
- Make time for self-care, whether that’s unwinding or doing activities you enjoy.
- Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19, and contact a health professional with any questions.
- Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including in-person or virtual counseling or therapy.
- Take care of your emotional health.
- Take care of your body by eating healthy, well-balanced meals, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep.
- Donate money to local nonprofits, if you are able.
- Actively participate in our P&G Good Everyday Rewards program to support organizations and partners serving minority communities and assisting with COVID-19 response, including:
1Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html#fn19. Accessed Oct. 22, 2020
2Percentage of people without health insurance in the United States from 2010 to June 2019, by ethnicity. https://www.statista.com/statistics/200970/percentage-of-americans-without-health-insurance-by-race-ethnicity/. Accessed Oct. 22, 2020
3Black workers face two of the most lethal preexisting conditions for coronavirus – racism and economic inequity. https://www.epi.org/publication/black-workers-covid/. Accessed Oct. 22, 2020
4Ong, Paul M. Systematic Racial Inequality and the COVID-19 Renter Crisis. https://ucla.app.box.com/s/t8x503d781kfmocclgdgeibielo0q234. Accessed Oct. 22, 2020
5Dunseith, Les. Black, Latino renters far more likely to be facing housing displacement during pandemic. https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/blacks-latinos-more-likely-to-face-housing-displacement. Accessed Oct. 22, 2020
6Discrimination and racial inequality. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/06/27/3-discrimination-and-racial-inequality/. Accessed Oct. 22, 2020
7https://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-racemattersEDUCATION-2006.pdf. Accessed Oct. 22, 2020