Easter Season – Wednesday, April 29

Family,

I am in the process of trying to craft an updated prayer list from all sundry scraps of paper I have written prayer requests on over the last few weeks and I know that at least one or two of those scraps have gone missing. Therefore, I would greatly appreciate it if you would send me your current concerns and celebrations so I can incorporate them in to an updated list I intend to publish tomorrow or Friday.

As we have been emphasizing, the COVID-19 virus is disproportionately impacting communities of color. Here is an excerpt from an interview Ny Times writer Jill Cowan conducted with Dr. Sophia Angell, California’s Director of Public Health which is explores this injustice.

State leaders have emphasized that they’re working to address the inequities in how the pandemic is affecting black and Latino communities. Let’s start by digging into what you’re seeing in a bit more detail. What numbers are most concerning?

Certainly, every number represents a person, so every number is something we worry about.

But we particularly worry when we see trends, which tell us something, at a systems level, is happening. So, by understanding those trends, we see an opportunity to address inequity.

It takes a while for the numbers to get big enough to get a good picture of what’s happening statistically.

What we saw is that black people had almost two times the rate in deaths than the population at large. That was really concerning, but the rest of the cases seemed to mirror the population at large.

The next thing we did to understand things better was to stratify the numbers by age. That helps us account for the fact that Latinos are a younger population than whites.

When we did that, what was emerging was an even more concerning pattern: a disproportionately high number of deaths among Latino people, as well as black people. This persisted among those 18 years or older.

What might explain the discrepancies?

Unfortunately, this is not a surprise. It’s a product of historical disadvantage, and also current issues that create disadvantages.

We have to think about how Covid-19 plays into this. The people who stay at home are not the people in essential sectors. Black and brown people are disproportionately represented in essential sectors; increased infection rates are caused by increased exposure.

But that alone doesn’t explain it. We also know there are populations that have baseline risk — like higher rates of things like obesity and asthma — that may be contributing to deaths.

It’s a perfect storm to create a disadvantage in these communities, that we need to respond to. And we are.

Much prayer is needed and much hard work will be required if these injustices are to be addressed. To these, let us commit.

Peace,

JimH.

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