Op-Ed

Friendly female doctor stroke head of cute child

Opinion: California, Here’s How to Protect Essential Workers

COVID-19 is exposing a hard truth about our communities: If the low-wage workers cannot obtain decent health care, everyone else is at risk.

That’s because many of the lowest-income Californians hold essential jobs in retail and other services where they regularly interact with the public. The UC Berkeley Labor Center estimates that up to half or more of California’s workers are considered essential. And California’s health care safety net that serves many of these workers will soon become more frayed.

Opinion: As Doctors, We Prescribe Voting For Better Health

We are physicians and leaders of the largest federally qualified community health center in the nation, located in East Los Angeles. The communities we serve are disproportionately experiencing the worst health outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These deaths are unacceptable. We believe it is our duty as health care leaders to educate and inform our patients on the importance of registering to vote, more so in this election than ever.

Opinion: Our Research Shows How to Right the Injustices of COVID-19

We examined health data from New York City and Los Angeles and found troubling patterns. In both cities, Latinx and Black residents were twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white residents, and residents in high-poverty areas had the highest infections and death rates.

Economic recovery will not be possible without an infusion of support to help right the injustices that already vulnerable populations are grappling with under the devastation caused by COVID-19.

Opinion: Methane Leaks in the Central Valley May Be Worsening COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 is now on track to become one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States in 2020. And people with underlying conditions like respiratory diseases are at increased risk for severe illness and death.

This is bad news by any standard, but terrible news if you happen to live in an area such as California’s San Joaquin Valley where the pre-COVID death rate due to chronic lower respiratory disease is 12 times higher than that of the rest of the state.

A mother grocery shops with her child in San Francisco, pre-pandemic. Photo by Kirkikis/iStock.

Opinion: One Thing We All Agree On

If there is one issue most Americans would agree on right now, it’s that we should protect our youngest children from hunger during the Covid-19 crisis. And yet the closure of child care facilities in California and across the country means hundreds of thousands of infants and young children may not be getting the free meals they regularly depend on.

As the pandemic continues, the government needs to take stronger action to ensure that our youngest children aren’t going hungry.

Opinion: Cannabis Tax Revenues Are Going to Police Budgets, Not Communities

As cries to “defund the police” reverberate across the country, cities are looking at ways to shift funds from policing into communities. In California, tax revenues from marijuana should be a clear point of entry.

When voters legalized cannabis in 2016, they expected the taxes would be invested in communities that were adversely impacted by the war on drugs. Instead, a new report finds that these revenues are actually funding the police.

Stressed And Overworked Female Doctor Wearing Scrubs Sitting On Floor In Hospital Corridor

Opinion: COVID-19 is Affecting Doctors’ Relationships

In normal times, medical training is challenging and stressful. The amount of time away from loved ones can bring giants to their knees. Add in the fears and uncertainties of a pandemic, I’m amazed that anyone, and any relationships, are surviving.

My heart goes out to the families, such as many of my patients at Harbor-UCLA, who are struggling to make ends meet, while also navigating all of their responsibilities and relationships, during the pandemic.

Denzel Tongue outside of a building that reads "State of California."

Opinion: How Systemic Racism Shows Up in California—And Why We Must End It

Growing up in Oakland, I quickly saw first-hand how racism resigns people of color, and Black Americans in particular, to shorter, sicker lives.

Data shows that African Americans in Alameda County live roughly seven years fewer than the county average.

If we act now, we can radically reshape our society in a positive way. Reducing the impact of and ultimately ending systemic racism has to be at the top of the list.

Black mother embraces little preschool daughter sitting on couch together at home.

Opinion: We Need a Safety Net for Children Experiencing Toxic Stress

COVID-19 is decimating our outdated safety net, and the vital links between families and their local economic, health and social supports.

The pandemic has made “underlying conditions” the new code phrase for the social and health inequities disproportionately impacting black and brown communities.

Shelter-in-place policies are compounding the isolation, stress, misinformation and trauma that are common to many communities of color.

A crowd of people wearing face masks in Los Angeles during COVID-19 face masks in Los Angeles

Opinion: The Pandemic Is Exposing How Fragile My Patients’ Lives Are

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on millions of Californians. This is especially true among low-income families, including my patients at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Most of our families barely get by in the best of times. How will they fare during a viral-induced economic downturn? The pandemic is exposing how fragile their lives are.

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