The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of first responders has been well documented but this article shows the effects of the pandemic through the eyes of the last responders, the employees of a funeral home. It tells the story of the Kemp’s, who own and operate a funeral home in Detroit for their majority African American clientele as they negotiate dwindling supplies of protective clothing, an increase in the number of remains they receive and unavailability of space to bury these remains.
The COVID-19 pandemic has bought to light the long acknowledged health disparities in America for African Americans. Studies conducted by the CDC shows that 80% of COVID-19 patients in Georgia are black, this is not only due to the disproportionate burden of comorbidities that African Americans suffer from, but also due to the fact that African Americans constitute to the majority of workforce in consumer driven sector which is pushed to operate as the state opens. The article also speaks about the lack of sufficient testing and treatment available to black patients suffering from COVID-19
Inspite of the Government’s statements about job creations for African Americans, unemployment was at an all time high even before the COVID-19 Pandemic. With the pandemic causing a recession, Black jobs are being lost in the thousands and unemployment benefits are only scratching a surface. National emergencies, pandemics and epidemics only shine a spotlight on the inequalities that exist, in this case, the long standing economic divide between the African American community and the rest of America.
As the COVID-19 pandemic brings to light the racial inequalities in healthcare, with the major brunt of the disease being felt by the African American community even if they constitute to a smaller population dynamic, a public private collaboration to testing was touted to resolve these inequalities. However, these free testing sites remain just as elusive to the African American community with a majority of testing sites being located in wealthier whiter neighborhoods than Black neighborhoods which are adversely suffering from the pandemic.