How racism in US health system hinders care and costs lives of African-Americans

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the U.S., the virus hit African Americans disproportionately hard. African Americans are still contracting the illness – and dying from it – at rates twice as high as would be expected based on their share of the population. In Michigan, African Americans are only 14% of the population, but account for one-third of the state’s COVID-19 cases and 40% of its deaths. In some states the disparities are even more stark. Wisconsin and Missouri have infection and mortality rates three or more times greater than expected based on their share of the population.

Why are white supremacists protesting to ‘reopen’ the US economy?

Joey Gibson, leader of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, addresses a crowd on April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Washington, insisting the state lift restrictions put in place to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. Karen Ducey/Getty Images

A series of protests, primarily in state capitals, are demanding the end of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Among the protesters are people who express concern about their jobs or the economy as a whole. But there are also far-right conspiracy theorists, white supremacists like Proud Boys and citizens’ militia members at these protests. The exact number of each group that attends these protests is unknown, since police have not traditionally monitored these groups, but signs and symbols of far right groups have been seen at many of these protests across the country.

Renters still left out in the cold despite temporary coronavirus protection

Renters still left out in the cold despite temporary coronavirus protection

Protesters demanding a freeze on rents in Minneapolis. Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via Getty Images

By Kirk McClure, University of Kansas and Alex Schwartz, The New School

Emergency relief for renters across America may protect them from the threat of eviction during the coronavirus crisis – but it won’t last for long. The economic shutdown necessitated by COVID-19 has undermined the ability of millions of families and individuals to pay their landlords. But current measures to alleviate their hardship will not last through the summer, leaving the country at risk of a surge of evictions and homelessness within months. The current crisis also hits landlords, small ones especially, who may now struggle to meet mortgage payments, property taxes and other essential expenses.

Making masks at home – what you need to know about how to reduce the transmission of coronavirus

Homemade masks will not filter the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but may prevent transmission of droplets and spray between individuals. Nikola Stojadinovic/Getty Images

By Susan L. Sokolowski, University of Oregon and Karen L. LaBat, University of Minnesota

The recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to use cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 has generated numerous how-to articles and videos. As academics who focus on personal protective equipment (PPE) research and development, we are concerned about the lack of information about two critical features of home mask design: fit and fabric selection. The reality of particle size

Virus particles are tiny, ranging from 0.1 to 0.3 micron. A size 40 micron particle is visible with the naked eye – anything smaller, you need specialized equipment to see it.

COVID-19 may hit rural residents hard, and that spells trouble because of lack of rural health care

The empty streets of Hebron, Illinois, population 1,200, a village three miles south of the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Scott Olson/Getty Images

By Kevin J. Bennett, University of South Carolina

The burden of COVID-19 in rural areas has been under the radar, as the toll of the disease so far has been heaviest in dense urban areas. But up to 30% of the U.S. population lives in rural America, which already has experienced more than 128 hospital closures since 2010, including 19 last year. COVID-19 could lead to more closures and instability in rural America, even though the lower density of rural areas may help keep transmission rates of the disease down. With fewer people living across relatively large areas, social distancing is easier to accomplish.