Delving Into the Disparities of Disease
Many of most impoverished neighborhoods also the most infected with COVID-19
Although the novel coronavirus' delivery area spans all of the City of Erie and Erie County, it seems to be unloading more copies of itself on some zip codes than others. If you subscribe to data trends, the numbers don't take much reading into — low-income, minority households have been affected at much higher volumes.
"What data suggests is minorities are more susceptible to more difficult and severe disease and poorer outcomes," said Dr. Tony Snow, the Erie County Department of Health's medical director.
Here is a look at the confirmed case counts by zip code (from highest to lowest), along with their per-capita and median household income data and minority population percentages. All COVID-19 numbers are as of Friday, Aug. 7
|ZIP CODE||CONFIRMED CASES||PROBABLE CASES||INCOME PER-CAPITA||MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME||% MINORITY|
In light of this, the Minority Community Investment Coalition (MCIC) announced a new initiative to address the situation. Their COVID-19 Disparities Task Force is on a mission to "bring attention, expertise, and resources to bear on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable populations in Erie." The task force will consist of five committees that will each play a part toward that overarching goal.
- The executive committee will provide leadership and oversight.
- The tracking and data committee will accrue and analyze data, and synthesize hypotheses based on that data
- The outreach and education committee will inform and educate at-risk communities.
- The testing and service committee will seek to improve access to testing, contact tracing, and personal protective equipment
- The resources and development committee will identify, secure, and distribute resources to those in need.
"Now is not a time to become complacent. We know our neighbors are vulnerable to Covid-19 and we want to ensure we are here to provide information, resources, and solutions," said Gary Horton, a founding partner of the MCIC and the director of Urban Erie Community Development Corporation (UECDC).
Together, the UECDC, the Booker T. Washington Center, and the Martin Luther King Center/Bayfront NATO comprise the MCIC, which aims to "promote economic development and improve outcomes for Erie's most vulnerable populations." The partner organizations collectively serve approximately 17,000 residents dwelling in the West Bayfront, Center City, and East Erie neighborhoods.
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org