SDoH Under the Microscope: Coronavirus + Homelessness
COVID-19, colloquially known as coronavirus, has been deemed a “public health emergency of international concern” by the
According to the
At this point, we can all recite the instructions to lessen our chances of contracting the coronavirus: wash your hands thoroughly and often, stay home when you are sick, and contact a healthcare provider should symptoms arise. Think about how these instructions work when you don’t have access to running water, don’t have a home to go to for isolation, and your means of healthcare is likely the nearest emergency department. Also consider that not only is the homeless population more likely to contract coronavirus, but they have higher mortality should they befall the virus. Given their older age and underlying health conditions, it will likely have more severe impact. It leaves an already struggling population in an even more vulnerable place. Furthermore, it puts another layer of hardship on communities, health systems, and providers on the frontlines of prevention.
So, what now?
On a macro level, a wide array of analytics is being used to track and project the magnitude of the pandemic and understand its possible origin. However, communities and health systems should be thinking more proactively, using SDoH data and analytics to identify vulnerable areas, determine optimal resource allocation, and properly implement containment strategies. There is an ample opportunity to utilize existing data to protect the communities we love.
It is unfortunate that it takes an emerging infectious disease outbreak to remind us of the needs of the homeless population. Base Camp Health is hopeful that these efforts will not go unnoticed and that support for these individuals will continue to perpetuate long after coronavirus is buried in our social media feeds.