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COVID-19: Maps show vulnerable communities of the US

The United States of America has so far shown the largest number of COVID-19 cases: larger than China from where this virus originated and Italy which has reported 181,228 confirmed cases and 24,114 deaths so far. Despite better health facilities as compare to the rest of the world, COVID-19 cases in the US are shocking. Various studies show that people who are currently homeless or housing insecure, lack the necessary resources to remain safe and healthy amidst a pandemic, rural U.S. counties and people who are above 65 years of age are most vulnerable to COVID-19. This indicates that these communities need to focus on an urgent basis to ensure that all people can protect themselves and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s have a look at some of the maps that shows places and communities that are more vulnerable to COVID-19 in the US

Senior Care Facilities

What we have seen in Italy and Spain and Seattle is that senior citizens (people over 65) are more vulnerable to novel coronavirus. Senior citizens home and places where the age of its citizens is over 65 are under high risk meaning they need critical care and better health services.

So far Thirty-nine people have died in the largest nursing home in New Jersey, where the facility has been overwhelmed with COVID cases and surpassed the holding capacity of their morgue. In New York State, the nation’s largest COVID-19 hot-spot, 24% of total fatalities from the disease have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living centers.

To monitor high risk zones, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is using data analysis to locate vulnerable populations and see if there is a need of extra resources to save them from pandemic. The Map shws high-risk senior care facilities across the United States by combining the bed availability data and safety records at nursing homes, assisted living, and long-term care facilities. By identifying high-risk facilities, this project can assist decision-makers anticipate where resources may be needed during the pandemic.

Healthcare Disparities

maps shows healthcare divide in the US

Healthcare facility differs from country to country and community to community. However, it is very much clear that communities with low healthcare disparities are more vulnerable to COVID-19. L.A. Times has released a map that visualizes the quality of healthcare cover, including insurance coverage, doctor supply, and rate of poverty in communities across the country. This map clearly indicates the virus is having a stronger impact in communities experiencing health care disparities along pre-existing lines of inequity. This map assists in explaining the health care divide in the United States. This map shows the 306 healthcare markets in the United States and the various healthcare disparities. It shows health insurance of working-age adults with health coverage, available doctors that is supply of primary care doctors, per 100,000 residents, poverty, residents living near or below the poverty line, preventable deaths and residents who die from preventable diseases, Avoidable hospitalizations like elderly and disabled residents hospitalized for conditions treatable in a doctor’s office.

COVID-19 in Prisons

Map shows in and out flow of prisoners

Even prisons in the United States are not safe. New York’s Legal Aid Society reported that 36 out of 1,000 inmates have tested positive so far in New York City jails. Jails are at higher risk not only for detained but also for people who work there and the community surrounding it. Approx. 200,000 people flowing into and out of jails every week and it is a tough task to maintain social distancing there.  The New York Times has created an animated map showing the in and out flows of prisoners in facilities across the United States. This map shows population, total numbers of entered and total number of people exit every day prisons across all counties of the United States. As per the map, approximately 20,000 people across the U.S. enter and exit prisons each week, demonstrating the risk of spread from these centralized hotspots. While many consider prisons to be isolated areas, this map highlights the constant movement of the prison population, and may assist policymakers to anticipate the impact of prison outbreaks on surrounding communities and workers’ families.

Also Read: How data can keep us safer amid the coronavirus crisis