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Equity and COVID-19: How the crisis is affecting communities of color

Megan Holmes

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The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presents: Coronavirus Impact Insights. Click the play arrow above to watch the full video.

On this episode, Erik Smith, managing member of Inclusivity LLC joins Chris Steinocher, CEO of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Joe Hamilton, publisher of the St. Pete Catalyst.

But first, as usual, Steinocher takes listeners through the Florida Chamber Scorecard for Pinellas County. He says the outlook is optimistic, as the percent of positive tests cases hovers at less than 2 percent. The 14-day average of positive cases is beginning to come down to 20, following a weekend high of 22.4.

Smith explains why COVID-19 does not affect everyone in every community the same way. For Pinellas County, African Americans account for 9.9 percent of the population and are 16 percent of COVID cases, 14 percent of hospitalizations and 7 percent of deaths.

Smith says some reasons for that include lower socioeconomic status, which increases the likelihood of living in shared space with others rather than single family homes, use of shared public transportation, and exposure to others in lower-wage essential work. Smith also says that African Americans also suffer from more underlying preexisting conditions, for issues that also surround equity.

“Business as usual doesn’t exist anymore, there’s going to be a new normal, or a new equilibrium. That equilibrium is going to thrust equity in the forefront.” Smith says that xenophobia and “othering” is a problem that will have to be solved in and outside of the workplace going forward.

Smith is hosting a webinar next week, Equity Amid Crisis, to discuss these issues and others. Registration is available here: https://www.powerbrokermagazine.com/events,2020-equity-amid-crisis-conference

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