SAN FRANCISCO, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 pandemic did not impact everyone equally in Northern California, according to a report published on Sunday by the San Francisco Chronicle on analysis of public health data in Alameda County.
The rates of infection are nearly five times higher in neighborhoods like Oakland's Fruitvale than in the wealthiest suburbs. The explosion of coronavirus cases in lower-income areas occurred across the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA), according to the report by the Chronicle.
The Chronicle analyzed data showing the daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases in each ZIP code since March in Alameda County -- the SFBA county that publishes such time-stamped information on infections.
The analysis found that the coronavirus has grown at a far quicker pace in low-income neighborhoods where more people couldn't work from home and where access to critical testing and other resources remained sparse early on.
The most severe impacts were in neighborhoods already dealing with long-standing health and economic inequities, said public health experts who reviewed the analysis.
Preventing the continued spread will require flooding those areas with financial and medical resources for people who need them most, but local, state and federal officials have been unable to fully patch an already tattered social safety net, according to the experts.
"We knew who was going to be hardest hit as soon as we knew we had a contagious virus. We knew who was still going to have to go into work and live in crowded conditions and be without insurance. We knew where we should have been focusing our efforts from day one," Kiran Savage-Sangwan, executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, was quoted as saying.
By July 7, infection rates in low-income ZIP codes were 4.5 times higher than in high-income ones -- 78 cases per 10,000 residents compared with 17 cases per 10,000 -- and twice as high as in middle-income areas. Across the SFBA, many heavily impacted neighborhoods are predominantly low-income communities of color, the analysis showed.
"We went into COVID with people marginally housed, homeless, in overcrowding living situations, with no living wage, no paid leave, no sick leave," Alameda County Health Director Kimi Watkins-Tartt was quoted as saying in the report. "It's not one thing, it's not two things, it's a lot of things all coming together to make this a very difficult thing to prevent in some communities." Enditem