COVID-19 Hit Vulnerable Communities Hard: What Happens When You're In More Than One?

Jul 15, 2020

Credit CDC

The pandemic has exposed how some communities are more vulnerable than others. But what happens when people are in more than one vulnerable group?

People who are Black and brown are more likely to be unemployed and uninsured. And people who are LGTBQ are also more likely to be unemployed and uninsured. So what happens to people whose identities intersect both of those groups?

Freddy Mejia at the Commonwealth Institute says lawmakers could help this group by requiring medical training for cultural competency. 

“By implementing a process where medical professionals will continue having training and learning about their biases and learning about the different considerations needed for different backgrounds and people of different identities it will only strengthen the outcomes that we are hoping to see here in Virginia,” he explains.

In the short term, though, this is a group that could also be helped by paid sick leave. Delegate Paul Krizek is a Democrat from Fairfax County, and he says he’s hopeful the upcoming special session will take action on this, passing a bill that was narrowly defeated at the end of the regular session earlier this year. 

“It’s got a good shot, and it’s really important," Krizek says. "Any bill we pass during the special session would be the law in 90 days at the earliest. And so that’s really good timing for the winter when people really need sick leave.”

The previous effort to require paid sick days died at the last minute because of the cost to Virginia in giving paid sick days to all state employees. Krizek says the cost could be offset some by limiting it to people who work 20 hours or more.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.