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 Black and Latinx residents, 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 and its members have led the advocacy effort to enact new state policies, including:
- Enact a Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures – enacted 4/20/20!
- Collect and Report Equity Data (including race, ethnicity and disability status) – enacted 6/8/20!
In addition, the Task Force is recommending immediate action on the following policy priorities to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on Black and Brown communities, poor communities, and others who have been disproportionately impacted:
- Adopt Four Criteria for an Equitable Reopening,
- Demand Police Accountability,
- Decarcerate Prisons & Jails,
- Ensure Housing Security & Safety,
- Improve Health & Safety for Immigrants,
- Secure Worker Rights & Safety,
- Amend the State’s inequitable Crisis Standards of Care.
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.
Advocates Push For Release Of Inmates To Slow Coronavirus Spread In Prisons (CBS Boston/WBZ 4 5/12/20)
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)
For press releases and media advisories, click here.
Fact Sheet on the Initial Recommendations (Issued 3/20/20)