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The situation around the world is rapidly evolving, as we quickly moved from imported cases to community spread. For individuals like Brian and Diane, significant changes in day-to-day routines and long-term plans have to take place in order to protect the community as a whole. Both Brian and Diane will have to minimize trips outside their homes. Brian is disappointed he will no longer be able to eat out at restaurants with his friends, while Diane is disappointed her grandkids from across the country will no longer be visiting due to decreased air travel. Both are trying to wash their hands more often.
Diane worries what will happen if she has a COPD or heart failure exacerbation, as her local hospital is full with COVID-19 patients. She is also aware that the providers at her healthcare centers are facing a PPE shortage, meaning that they would have inadequate protection when working with her and other patients and adding to her fear of presenting for care. How could Diane obtain care for her chronic conditions without seeing a physician in person?
Brian was introduced to us at the beginning of this curriculum as a young adult male graduating from a university in Boston. When you read this vignette, how did you envision Brian? What was his socioeconomic status? What was his race? How would these factors affect his risk of contracting COVID-19 and his likelihood of obtaining adequate testing and care if he were to fall ill?
Brian is worried about how the changing economy will impact the job he has lined up for after graduation. What are other ways Brian’s life might be impacted in the coming months?
Diane is worried about leaving her home for her usual book club and to volunteer at the library. How can Diane stay connected to her community? Are there programs or interventions you could imagine setting up to help her stay connected?
We hope this module captured the broader implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for health disparities, government policy, and U.S. socioeconomic well-being, as well as the adapting responses of the healthcare system and society as a whole.