Mid-South receives millions to fight health disparities linked to COVID-19
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (WMC) – The federal government is sending tens of millions of dollars to the Mid-South to address health disparities linked to COVID-19.
This has been one of the most difficult challenges during the pandemic.
Experts say that while COVID-19 did not cause the country’s health disparities, it did reveal them.
For example, the CDC says black Americans accounted for more than 18% of COVID-19 deaths at the height of the spring pandemic in the summer of last year, when they accounted for just 12% of population.
The same goes for Hispanics, who accounted for 24% of deaths, while they made up 18% of the population.
But the disparities do not end there.
Where you live matters too.
“We also need to recognize that many groups have been hit hard by the pandemic. Equity measures are not limited to race and ethnicity. We have to be intentional about the place, reaching out to rural border communities, ”said Dr Marcella Nunez-Smith, who chairs the Biden administration’s COVID-19 health equity task force.
The CDC said that in September, the number of people with COVID-19 in rural areas exceeded the number of people with the virus in urban areas.
The agency says rural communities often have a higher proportion of residents who do not have health insurance, live with co-morbidities, are over 65 and have limited access to doctors.
To reduce racial, ethnic and rural health disparities, the CDC distributes more than $ 2.25 billion in grants across the country.
Tennessee receives just over $ 38 million.
“We know that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color and vulnerable populations in Tennessee,” said Kimberly Lamar, PhD, assistant commissioner, Division of Health Disparities Elimination. “We appreciate this award and believe it will be a great investment for the people of Tennessee as we continue our work to address health inequalities. The funding will be used to implement a coordinated and holistic approach that builds on culturally, linguistically and locally appropriate strategies and best practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in the state of Tennessee. “
Arkansas received over $ 40 million, while Mississippi will receive $ 48 million.
Large county health services were also eligible.
Shelby County Health Department received $ 6.5 million, according to the CDC.
The money was made available through the $ 2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief legislative package that former President Donald Trump enacted in December.
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