Discussion: Pandemic exposes health inequities in vulnerable communities

A woman is shown wearing a medical mask and carrying a bag while standing in front of doors with graffiti painted on them

A World Bank pandemic funding program will see more than $195 million distributed as soon as next week to help tackle the novel coronavirus among 64 of the world’s poorest countries that have reported cases of the fast-spreading disease, the lender said on Monday.

The World Bank launched a number of instruments under its Pandemic Emergency Financing program to provide rapid financing to affected poor countries after the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia that killed at least 11,300 people.

Related discussion: On the front lines of the coronavirus crisis

While developed countries are funneling trillions of dollars into their own virus stricken economies, many poor nations lack the means to mitigate the hit from the pandemic.

But even in the United States, poorer communities, along with Black and Hispanic people, are taking the biggest hit from the novel coronavirus. According to a new report from Pew Research Center, low-income workers, including people of color and those without college degrees, are more likely to report job losses or pay cuts.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit underserved populations and communities of color particularly hard, exacerbating longstanding health disparities in the US and around the world.

As part of our weekly series taking your questions to the experts, in partnership with Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The World’s Elana Gordon moderated a conversation with Dr. Mary Bassett, director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and former commissioner of health for New York City. Bassett discussed underserved populations amid COVID-19 and address the urgent need for data exploring health inequities.

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