Health Justice Strategies To Combat COVID-19: Protecting Vulnerable Communities During A Pandemic
Federal, state and local governments are struggling to identify best practices for controlling the spread of COVID-19 while minimizing the negative effects of sweeping public health interventions, especially for poor and marginalized communities, which may be hardest hit. Social distancing and sheltering in place have emerged as a key strategies for flattening the curve of the epidemic and mitigating impacts on already-stressed health care systems. Measures to keep people at least six feet apart as much as possible—by closing schools, limiting the operations of nonessential businesses, and urging or requiring people to work from home and avoid gatherings—mean that many people will be sheltering in place for weeks or months. As authorities implement restrictions on personal liberty in some of the areas hit particularly hard by COVID-19, the potential for discriminatory enforcement and police escalation may endanger the safety and civil rights of at-risk and traditionally marginalized populations.