Let’s Build on What We’ve Learned from Covid-19

“It is time to make our communities healthy too”

On June 15, the State of California officially reopened. It’s a time when we can all exhale and give thanks for what we hope will mark the end of a terrible pandemic.
It’s also an opportunity to ensure that what happened to South L.A. during Covid never happens again.
Now is not the time to think small. We need to seize this moment to advocate for investments in community health that will ensure that South L.A. – and communities like it – are protected from future disasters.
Fortunately, we have leaders who seem ready to act. The Biden Administration is considering generation-changing investments in our communities – changes we should support.
One promising governmental proposal is investment in “infrastructure.” You might think of this as roads and bridges. But what if we think about infrastructure more expansively as those social goods that communities need to survive and thrive?
The administration is starting to do just that, expanding the notion of infrastructure to include community health, with proposed investment in home-based care for older and disabled adults.
New investments in infrastructure will not only help us close out the current pandemic, they will help us mitigate the next one. This could mean investments in clean air and water, housing, green spaces, and solutions to transportation and nutritional barriers that make some communities more vulnerable to chronic illness.
Lack of health care infrastructure is one reason Covid ravaged African American and Latino populations at three to four times the rates of Whites. It’s why South L.A. – despite having one of the largest Covid outbreaks in the county – has the fewest number of hospital beds per 100,000. It’s why we have a huge burden of chronic illness in our community – and a severe shortage of doctors to manage it.
How do we build this infrastructure? Again – it’s a no-brainer. We must invest.