From Katrina to COVID-19: How Disaster, Federal Neglect, and the Market Compound Racial Inequities   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Executive Summary: "To inspire support for public health directives, many warn COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] does not discriminate--everyone's susceptible. The reality is more complicated. We are not 'all in this together.' Racism ensures this, and New Orleans' experience following Hurricane Katrina illustrates one way that racial inequities play out in a time of crisis. [...] Although Katrina and COVID-19 have been framed as 'natural' disasters--one ecological and the other biological--government inaction and racism have been most responsible for the disproportionate harms experienced by communities of color. With COVID-19, African Americans and other marginalized communities risk infection as low-paid workers, struggle to access food and healthcare, worry about rent and eviction, confront a digital divide amid shuttered schools, and die at higher rates. Through history, storytelling, and political analysis, this report illustrates how the government neglect that disproportionately affected communities of color during Katrina is again evident during the COVID-19 crisis, with similar devastating results. The experience of Katrina, then, has policy implications for the current moment, including concerns over profiteering and who will have a voice in rebuilding communities disproportionately affected by economic shutdown and school closures. Policymakers are urged to act on the following race-conscious, equity-focused recommendations spanning health, education, housing, labor, and democratic governance."

National Economic Policy Center. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/]
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National Economic Policy Center: https://nepc.colorado.edu/
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