“the Trump administration’s guidelines for “opening up America again” are so bereft of operational specifics that they’re like a cake recipe that simply reads, “Make cake.”

Georgia went all in on April 24, reopening gyms, restaurants, theaters, salons, and bowling alleys at a point when it had five of the 10 counties with the highest COVID-19 death rates nationwide, and was testing just a fifth as many people as it needed to. Texas, Alabama, Kansas, Arizona, Mississippi, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and others all reopened while cases were still rising.

“the U.S., ... despite having just 4 percent of the world’s population has 31 percent of its confirmed COVID-19 cases (1.5 million) and 28 percent of its confirmed deaths (92,000).

“after Georgia businesses revved back into action, more than 60,000 extra visitors poured in from neighboring states every day. Just a few travelers can spark substantial outbreaks in new places.

“contact tracers ... will call every infected person, talk through their needs, ask for names of anyone they’ve had close or prolonged contact with in the past two days, and call those contacts, too. “This really is the best tool we have to manage the pandemic until we have a safe and effective vaccine,” says Crystal Watson at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

“The Affordable Care Act, which almost halved the proportion of uninsured black Americans below the age of 65, was most strongly fought by several states with large proportions of black citizens.

“Last year, when the Global Health Security Index graded every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States ... on access to health care specifically, ... scored just 25.3. (Out of 195 countries, it tied with The Gambia for 175th place.)

“In almost every state, COVID-19 disproportionately infects and kills people of color—a pattern that Ibram X. Kendi has called “a racial pandemic within the viral pandemic.” Pundits have been quick to blame poor health or unsafe choices, without considering the roots of either. Racism in policing means that many black people don’t feel safe wearing the masks that would protect their neighbors. Racism in medicine means that black patients receive poorer health-care than white ones. Racism in policy has left black neighborhoods with less healthy food and more pollution, and black bodies with higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, stress, and what the demographer Arline Geronimus calls “weathering”—poor health that results from a lifetime of discrimination and disadvantage. “When America catches a cold, black people get the flu,” says Rashawn Ray, a sociologist at the University of Maryland. “In 2020, when America catches COVID-19, black people die.”

“These inequities will likely widen. Even before the pandemic, inequalities in poverty and access to health care “were concentrated in southern parts of the country, and in states that are politically red,” says Tiffany Joseph, a sociologist at Northeastern University. Not coincidentally, she says, those same states have tended to take social-distancing measures less seriously and reopen earlier. The price of those decisions will be disproportionately paid by black people.

“people don’t have health insurance, or can afford to live only in areas with poorly funded hospitals.... people work in poor-paying jobs that can’t be done remotely, have to commute by public transportation, or live in crowded homes....

“Leann Bertsch, who directs the North Dakota Department of Corrections, has argued that prisoners should be freed if they are over 50, have serious illnesses, or are within two years of parole or release. A bipartisan group of 14 senators has made a similar call for decarceration.

“Policies can also support people in protecting themselves. Essential workers earn low hourly wages and cannot afford to miss a shift, even if they have symptoms. “The only way to prevent them from going to work is to give them paid sick leave,”

“social solutions like paid sick leave, which two in three low-wage workers do not have, can be implemented immediately. Imagine if ... energy ... went into ensuring hazard pay....” https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/05/patchwork-pandemic-states-reopening-inequalities/611866/ by Ed Yong