Connect with us

Coronavirus

Equality California launches bilingual campaign for LGBTQ Californians devastated by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted underlying social inequalities for LGBTQ people

Published

on

Equality California press briefing , Tuesday March 2, 2021

LOS ANGELES – Equality California Institute launched a statewide bilingual campaign on Tuesday promoting COVID-19 vaccination, testing and safety guidance to LGBTQ+ Californians, in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and The Center at Sierra Health Foundation.

The public education and outreach campaign is a continuation of Equality California Institute’s ongoing efforts to connect LGBTQ+ Californians with the resources and support they need to navigate the COVID-19 crisis — including an online Help Center (covid19.eqca.org) and help line (323-448-0126), that was launched last May. A Spanish-language version of the Help Center will be launched in the coming weeks the organization announced in a press briefing Tuesday.

“We’ve made a lot of progress, and certainly I’m hopeful that we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel with increased availability of vaccines, but the fact is the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our LGBTQ+ community,” Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur said Tuesday’s briefing

“Since the crisis began, we’ve been working with Governor Newsom’s administration and our partners in the California Legislature and Congress to ensure LGBTQ+ people have access to the resources they need. Now, we’ll be working with our community-based partners across the state to make sure every LGBTQ+ Californian knows when it’s their turn to be vaccinated, how to sign up for an appointment and the importance of getting vaccinated — so we can get our kids back in the classroom, reopen our economy and protect the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Nearly one year since California entered a State of Emergency to combat COVID-19, research shows that the ongoing global pandemic has had a devastating impact on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (LGBTQ+) community — especially LGBTQ+ people of color. Last month, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also confirmed that underlying health disparities faced by LGBTQ+ people leave the community particularly vulnerable to the virus.

A recent study from the Williams Institute found that LGBTQ+ people of color are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 than their non-LGBTQ+ white peers.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted underlying social inequalities that need to be remedied in order to promote long-term health for LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ people of color,” said Dr. Kerith J. Conron, Research Director at the Williams Institute.

LGBTQ+ people face higher rates of comorbidities such as HIV and cancer, are more likely to use tobacco products, are less likely to have health insurance and less likely to access care when they are sick out of fear of discrimination.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are also overrepresented in the industries hit hardest by economic fallout, such as the food services and hospitality industries and the gig economy. And LGBTQ+ elders already faced isolation and were less likely to reach out for support before the crisis began.

Dr. Ian McLachlan, is an emergency medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco Medical Center. Dr. McLachlan has been deeply involved Kaiser Permanente’s COVID-19 response, with a particular focus on promoting equity in the response. He is currently working at San Francisco’s mass vaccination site at Moscone Center.

“Trust and inclusion has been a huge, important issue for every frontline worker,” said Dr. McLachlan. “Next year will be the 40th anniversary since the definition of AIDS, and American healthcare looks totally different than it did 40 years ago — doctors older than myself will tell you that one of the biggest differences is diversity, and that diversity has already paid dividends.”

Equality California Institute’s new campaign will include direct outreach to LGBTQ+ Californians via email, text message and mail, as well as virtual town hall events, social media outreach and engagement in coordination with local community-based partner organizations.

Equality California Institute’s online COVID-19 Help Center is available to LGBTQ+ Californians at covid19.eqca.org. Members of the LGBTQ+ community can receive direct support finding available vaccination and testing sites and accessing other resources via Equality California Institute’s help line by calling 323-448-0126.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Coronavirus

CDC: 85% of gay & lesbian adults in U.S. are vaccinated against COVID

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBTQ persons limited because of the lack of routine SOGI data collection at the national & state levels

Published

on

Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/GSA

ATLANTA – A new study report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), found that found 85.4% of gay and lesbian Americans above age 18 had received at least one vaccine dose as of October 2021.

The study, conducted from August 29 until October 30, 2021, also found that by comparison, only 76.3% of heterosexuals reported receiving at least an initial dose by the same date.

The report noted that Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations have higher prevalence of health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness compared with non-LGBT populations.

The potential for low vaccine confidence and coverage among LGBT populations is of concern because these persons historically experience challenges accessing, trusting, and receiving health care services

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBT persons are limited, in part because of the lack of routine data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity at the national and state levels.

In March of 2021, the Blade reported the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed deep-seated inequities in health care for communities of color and amplifies social and economic factors that have contributed to those communities being hit hardest, and Mega-vaccination centers set up by California health officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been addressing and tracking the issue- the LGBTQ communities are still not being tracked.

This lack of data collection has frustrated and angered California State Senator Scott Wiener who authored a bill last year that passed through the legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last Fall that mandates gathering sexual orientation and gender identity data related to the COVID testing in California.

“We’re one year into the pandemic, and LGBTQ people continue to be erased in our public health response to COVID-19 — similar to our invisibility throughout history. No government is successfully tracking COVID-19 cases in the LGBTQ community, despite a law I wrote mandating that California do so,” Weiner told the Blade. “And, we now know that LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to COVID-19. We’ve also just learned that vaccination demographic data doesn’t include LGBTQ data. It simply shocking that in 2021, progressive health agencies continue to forget about our community,” he added.

The CDC also noted that gay and lesbian adults were more likely to be concerned about COVID-19 and to believe in the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

“We know that the prevalence of certain health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness, such as cancer, smoking, and obesity, are higher in LGBT populations, and access to health care continues to be an issue for some people in the LGBT community,” Dr. A.D. McNaghten, a member of the CDC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and corresponding author of the study, told ABC News. “We wanted to see if vaccination coverage among LGBT persons was the same as non-LGBT persons.”

The CDC data recorded that bisexual and transgender adults had similar vaccination rates to heterosexual adults with 72.6% of bisexual adults fully vaccinated by the end of October, as were 71.4% of transgender adults. The numbers however for Black and Hispanic lesbian women had lower rates of vaccination at 57.9% and 72.6%, respectively, compared to Black and Hispanic heterosexual women at 75.6% and 80.5%, respectively.

Higher percentages of gay or lesbian adults and bisexual adults reported that they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (90.8% and 86.8%, respectively) compared with heterosexual adults (80.4%), and higher percentages of adults who identified as transgender or nonbinary reported they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (83.2%) compared with those who did not identify as transgender or nonbinary (80.7%).

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

White House orders distribution of 400 million free N95 masks

Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator; “We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks”

Published

on

President Joe Biden (Blade file photo/screenshot)

WASHINGTON – As the latest surge of the highly contagious and easily transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to cause a rise in hospitalizations, especially among unvaccinated adults and children, the White House announced Wednesday it is making 400 million N95 masks available for free at thousands of locations across the nation.

The plan an admkistartion official said, is to start shipping the nonsurgical masks to pharmacies and community health centers to distribute this week, which will come from the Strategic National Stockpile.

In an interview with NBC News, Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator, said, “We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks.”

The N95 masks will be made available to everybody, and recipients will not be prioritized based on vulnerability to Covid, income or other criteria. Inglesby said the administration was “confident that people who want to access them will be able to access them,” but it was not immediately clear how many masks a person could receive at one time.

On January 13, President Joe Biden had announced a plan to have the government distribute 1 billion rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests free to Americans, along with the N95 masks, as the administration works to fight the spiraling upward spike in coronavirus cases.

The White House website to order free at-home Covid tests went live Tuesday. The website says: “Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.”

A White House official said Wednesday that the distribution of 400 million masks would be the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history.

Inglesby told NBC News that the administration was “absolutely preparing for the possibility of additional variants in the future” and that people could expect the government to make N95 masks “more and more available.”

Biden announces free masks, tests to fight omicron:

Continue Reading

Coronavirus

COVID-19 Cases increase by nearly 10 times in one month

While hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID

Published

on

Graphic courtesy of UCLA/Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

LOS ANGELES – A total of 31,576 new COVID-19 cases were documented on Monday — up ten times the number of cases reported on Dec. 17, 2021, when there were 3,360 new cases recorded the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported Monday.

There are  4,564 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, nearly 6 times the number from one month ago when 772 people were hospitalized. The daily positivity rate is 16.5%, more than 8 times the 2% daily positivity rate on December 17th.

Just one week ago, the county surpassed 2 million total COVID-19 cases, with the figure reaching 2,289,045 cases as of Monday.

“On this national holiday where we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, we remember his deep commitment to health equity.  As Reverend King memorably said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death,’ ” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

“Tragically, we have seen this play out in real life and very clearly over the past two years with the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color. From the onset of the pandemic, communities of color have experienced the greatest devastation from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation,” she added.

“The good news is that while hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID but, are identified with COVID when tested for COVID upon hospital admission,” the health department said in a statement released last week.

As of Friday, more than 80% of all adult ICU beds in the county were occupied.

There are also 27 new deaths due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and 31,576 new positive cases.

The public health department also noted that while the number of children hospitalized with the virus remains low, the number of them admitted to L.A. County hospitals “significantly increased” over the past month, with the largest increase among children younger than 5 years old.

The increase mirrors trends seen nationwide for the age group — the only one not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The county also saw its highest coronavirus death rate in nearly 10 months over this past week, with an average of 40 COVID-19 deaths a day.

“From the onset of the pandemic, communities of color have experienced the greatest devastation from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation. As we continue to implement strategies – enforcing worker protections through our Health Officer Orders, providing resources needed by many to survive the impact of the pandemic, funding community-based organizations in hard hit areas to serve as trusted public health messengers, and increasing vaccination access in under-sourced neighborhoods – we also need to come together to address the impact that racism, historical disinvestment, and social marginalization have on COVID-19 outcomes,” Ferrer said.

“While these conditions predate the pandemic, without deliberate collective actions to address the root causes of health inequities, we are unlikely to close the gaps we have documented for 2 long years,” she added.

California has recorded more than 7 million coronavirus cases after its fastest accumulation of reported infections in the history of the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The unprecedented count, recorded in California’s databases late Monday, comes one week after the state tallied its 6 millionth coronavirus case.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular