Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence of PolicyLink, writes about a groundbreaking equity metric created to guide California’s pandemic response.

“I’m excited to lift up California’s groundbreaking new public health strategy aimed at ensuring that the health of people most impacted by the Covid pandemic won’t be ignored in the rush to reopen the economy.

The Covid recovery feels like a never-ending roller coaster. When infection rates drop, we move quickly to get kids back in the classroom and shoppers back in the mall. But then the numbers go up again, and we’re back to more restrictions.

The way we break this cycle and advance toward sustainable recovery is by embracing racial equity as an important factor in decisions about reopening. That’s what California is doing through its new Equity Metric. It won’t allow counties to move toward broader reopening until they show they are focusing resources on neighborhoods with the highest rates of Covid infections. Latinx people make up 39 percent of the state’s population but 61 percent of Covid cases.

The Equity Metric requires demonstration that counties are focusing on hard-hit communities with testing, contact tracing, and a steady push for essential prevention actions such as social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands. The upshot: people of color, who are disproportionately suffering not only from the virus but also the economic fallout, will get the attention, resources, and support they deserve to get healthy and stay healthy…”

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