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Testing disparities

Your data-driven update…

An article from fivethirtyeight.com was released yesterday regarding COVID19 and health disparities. I’m proud to have contributed. Here is a high-level synopsis:

Across the country, Hispanics and Blacks continue to be hit hardest by the COVID19 pandemic. This is due to many reasons. They are more likely to: be an essential worker, not have sick leave, live in densely populated areas, rely on public transportation, live multigenerational households, have preexisting chronic conditions, be under- or uninsured, have language barriers, etc. etc. etc.

Another reason is access to care, and more specifically, access to affordable COVID19 testing sites. It’s incredibly obviously when we look at a map.

I’m going to pick on Dallas, Texas. For those of you not familiar with Dallas, it’s greatly segregated by one freeway. South of the freeway is majority low income and minority households. North of the freeway is majority high income and white households.

As of this morning, there are 163 COVID19 testing sites in Dallas-Fort Worth. Only 7 are south of the freeway. We can see this in the figures with raw number of testing sites (Figure 1) and the NEED for testing sites (Figure 2).

This article also highlights other cities across the United States. I highly recommend you read it.

You may think this doesn’t apply to you. However, the virus doesn’t care about freeway lines. We need to improve access to affordable testing for the hardest hit populations so we stop playing whack-a-mole in this nation. Without access to testing, people won’t know they are positive, so they won’t quarantine (or don’t have the choice to quarantine), and the disease will continue to spread. We are all in this together, now let’s start acting like it.

Love, your local epidemiologist

Data Sources:

Fivethirtyeight: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/white-neighborhoods-have-more-access-to-covid-19-testing-sites/?fbclid=IwAR2xuFJ1ebatkAvdFVMDUCYn7oXExOLNqQRmfBpfhd6q1nlKkBiRs60oj0o

NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/05/27/862215848/across-texas-black-and-hispanic-neighborhoods-have-fewer-coronavirus-testing-sit

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