Community News
Special Edition-Another National Public Health Crisis
COVID 19 & Systemic Racism-Two Viruses One Nation 
By Marie Corbin, RN, MSNc-R-DMTC

Bishop TD Jakes
“You can have Grace but still have truth and it’s time to tell our truth…”

Our condolence to all the victims and their families that has suffered from the hands of a systemic disease of de humanization and the desanctification of a human life…PHOSBC

It’s no secret these days that our country is plagued with two viruses; a SARS-CoV-2 aka COVID 19 virus, which is running rampant and was deemed a Global Pandemic by the World Health Org. on March 12 2020 vs. blatant Racism to African Americans families all over the Country creating what I am calling a
“Public Health Racial Pandemic “which by the way has not been deemed by any appropriate agencies that I know of.  Even as I write this there are 106,180, reported deaths of COVID 19 in the United States alone according to John Hopkins University of Medicine COVID 19 map. Yet countless murders of unarmed black people since the days of imposed Slavery have not yet been recorded by any World Health Agency as I researched for this article.  

It’s also no secret that after the brutal homicide of George Floyd by Minnesota PD, Police Departments nationwide and even private citizens are committing horrific crimes to people of color and that number is increasing per annum. Countless families are being impacted by this constant loss of loved ones thus creating huge Mental Health and Physical illnesses and disparities that can’t’ be remedied without interventions of improved Public Health & Police Department Reform, true accountability and policy changes.  

As U.S. COVID-19 deaths surpass 106,180, (80,000 more since I began my draft just 3 days ago) disproportionately communities of color, state-sanctioned murders and violence against people of color by police continues, seemingly unabated and unresolved thus the out crying of public protest around the globe. 

Recent examples included Ahmaud Aubrey was shot dead while jogging in Georgia on February 23rd, by Travis McMichael and his father, retired police officer Gregory McMichael. On March 13th, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was shot eight times and killed by Louisville, Kentucky police after they burst into her home in the middle of the night, entering the wrong apartment while looking for a suspect who was already in custody according to (DemocracyNow).

As a consequence of this viral Systemic Racism which is defined “system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on race, that unfairly disadvantages some individuals and communities,” (AJPH) the impact it is having on the health & wellness of our black and brown communities nationwide is remarkable, and already has taken its toll for years with diseases like Hypertension, Strokes, Heart Disease, Mental Illness and even some respiratory ailments such as Asthma, which is stress induced, are secondary outcomes as a result of this inequality. Sure, one can say diet and lifestyle contributes to these diseases as well but we can’t overlook how countless loss of lives, month after month, year after year doesn't destroy family connections, legacies and the human spirits of those suffering from imposed unfair jailing, murders, lynchings and rapings and the like impacting the health of our communities. 

Take a look at the Goals and Objectives that are to be met by this years end as these goals were written 10 years ago
In December 2010, by the Department of Health and Human Services which has four overarching goals:

"Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death; Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups"

! According to the Healthy People 2020 website it states: 
“…achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities” (HealthyPeople2020). 

I submit to you; these goals are not being met in our communities in part due to this systemic virus of racism, hate and discrimination even affects other underserved communities not just brown or black.  

Furthermore, I submit to you this public health crisis of injustice is a major "threat to health" that is causing an epidemic of untold proportions and contributes to the leading cause of death of our black men.  In fact, (1 in every 1000) black persons especially men according to the CDC are fatally injured according to its data base and with African Americans making up 13 % of the population that is 40 million souls that are being affected according to 2016 Census Bureau; that’s a threat to health indeed when your life is snoofed out for no good reason other than the color of your skin.  

“A Riot is the language of the unheard” MLK

I n this article we call first of all for Peace but second to that we call for increased Training, Research, Reform, Faith Based leadership , more Govt Agency transparency, National Leadership.
Policy Makers we urge you to a call of action of reform along with improved Implementations of Evidence-Based Public Health policies that can address these crisis our commnities live with on a daily basis. 

Community Advocates & Organizers like Black Lives Matters has been addressing these matters since 2013 after the killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin yet this long-standing plagued virus of injustice marches on because the virus of racism and racial profiling has not been contained as we would expect from any virus that causes fatal outcomes.  This last week our country has been coming together to fight against this viral injustice of systemic racism and to that end we can begin to heal.
I propose as we acknowledge this threat as another contagious virus that needs a “vaccine” we can improve our local, state, and national public health goals & policies that can eliminate racialized health disparities, cultivate healing in our nation and thus contain and out of control virus just as we are researching for ways to contain Coronavirus.  

"Peace be with you my peace I leave unto you...KJV" John 14:27

References-John Hopkins Univ. of Medicine/covid19 map
Jennifer Jee-Lyn García, Mienah Zulfacar Sharif, “Black Lives Matter: A Commentary on Racism and Public Health”, American Journal of Public Health 105, no. 8 (August 1, 2015): pp. e27-e3
Bishop TD Jakes, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Centers for Disease Control 
Contact Tracing Explained
By: Hannah Ableman, Executive Assistant

Many of us are ready to start leaving our houses. However, medical experts say that this cannot be done safely without successful contact tracing. Contact tracing is when phone interviews are used to determine people with COVID-19's physical social networks, so everyone that they have been in contact with can be told to self-isolate to prevent the disease from spreading. 

The idea of contact tracing is not specific to COVID-19. It has been a  widely used practice  for other viruses and contagious diseases. This method has been harder to implement with COVID-19 because there has not been enough effective testing available, but more states and counties are starting to enlist contact tracers in their attempts to reopen.  

According to Governor Newsom’s California standards for reopening, Santa Barbara County needs 68 contact tracers. ( For information on how to become a contact tracer click here ). He has explained that when a possible exposure to the virus has been identified by a contact tracer, public health officials will order the person into a 14-day quarantine. If someone under quarantine reports a fever, cough, fatigue or other symptom, they will receive a COVID-19 test and a new contact tracing investigation begins.  

This system is completely based on self-reporting. During the interviews, people must be open about who they have seen recently. As contact tracing interviews become more common, it is important that we give honest information.      
Finding New Ways to Smile   
By: Hannah Ableman, Executive Assistant   

In April I read a newspaper article that discussed how medical professionals were trying to make COVID-19 patients feel at ease. When you go to a hospital for any reason it is comforting to see a smiling face. With all the protective gear that medical professionals must wear when treating COVID-19 patients, they had to get creative in expressing their emotions. Hospital workers started putting pictures of themselves smiling on their scrubs.  

There are many benefits to smiling and seeing someone else’s smile. When you smile or laugh it is often reflected by those around you. This creates positive social experiences which improves relationships. Smiling also has mental health benefits. It helps relieve stress and causes the release of the hormones, endorphins and serotonin, which signal happiness in your body. I was glad to see that hospital workers were trying to continue to give the benefits of smiling to their patients. But I cannot stop thinking that with the government and medical professionals recommending that people wear face masks in public, how do we find our own ways of expressing positive emotions?  

When you are wearing a face mask properly you can only see your eyes. There is no opportunity for a broad smile. Just like medical professionals we must get more creative in showing that we care. Call your friends and let them know that you are thinking about them. Do a video chat so they can still see your smiling face. Deliver food to those who are too old to go for themselves. Write thoughtful notes. Even though we cannot smile face to face today, we can still promote their benefits.  

Photo Images Credit -Marie Corbin
New Logo PHOSBC Credit Monica Gabriele Thank you Monica!!!