The COVID-19 outbreak is not impacting Massachusetts residents equally. Communities that are already facing marginalization are being hardest hit by the virus and its economic repercussions, starkly exposing inequities across Massachusetts and the nation. The people most impacted include low-wage workers, immigrants, non-English speakers, people who are housing insecure or experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, people who are food insecure, and people who are incarcerated.
To ensure that equity is at the center of the state’s response to this crisis, MPHA has convened an Emergency Task Force on Coronavirus & Equity to rapidly develop policy recommendations. The Task Force is co-chaired by Sandro Galea, MD, Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health and Cheryl Bartlett, RN, CEO of the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center and former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The Task Force is recommending dramatic and immediate action to mitigate these impacts, including the following:
- Enact a Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures – enacted 4/20/20!
- Pass Emergency Paid Sick Time – legislation filed 4/21/20,
- Provide Safe Quarantine for People Experiencing Homelessness,
- Ensure Immigrants Have Safe Access to Testing & Treatment,
- Collect and Report Equity Data (including race, ethnicity and disability status),
- Create a Public Health Plan for Prisons & Jails,
- Amend the State’s Crisis Standards of Care to Ensure Equity.
The Task Force recognizes that these recommendations are not comprehensive and do not address all populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As the Task Force continues its work, we will issue further recommendations and will lift up the leadership of other coalitions leading the way on related issues.
Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response leaves too many behind (CommonWealth Magazine Oped 4/5/20)
Slowing the spread of COVID-19 the right way (CommonWealth Magazine Oped 3/21/20)
Task Force Outlines Immediate Needs to Fight Virus (State House News 3/20/20)
Fact Sheet on the Initial Recommendations (Issued 3/20/20)