New York: the epicenter of this global pandemic in the United States

Consequences of COVID-19 on our families

There was a Boston Globe editorial on March 30 that describes the extent of this grasp in the US in these words: “As the American public braces itself for the worst of this crisis that the reach of the virus is attributable to a colossal failure of leadership. It demanded a leader who would seek the country’s well-being first, above near-term stock market returns and his own reelection and who would work with other nations to stem the tide of COVID 19 around the world But instead we had a President who downplayed the risk, who mistrusted scientific fact, and misled the public .The lack of leadership has kneecapped our response: limited access to tests, limited needed supply such as gowns, masks and ventilators so that health care staffs are left unprotected and become sick and some die. And he continues during this time to erode federal environmental regulations and rolling back our response to climate change and continuing to erode supports for families and children on the border. Researchers are telling us that there is a direct connection between Climate Change and the Growth of the Virus. And the infections and death increase daily: First infected person was on March, 2020 and now on April the 3rd the total of cases in New York State: 102,863 and the number of deaths>: 2935 and in New York City: 57,160 cases and 1562 deaths.

This part of the report shares what are experiencing in New York; LSA FAMILY HEALTH SERVICES, and also two of our communities in Massachusetts: Project Hope in Roxbury, and the Pernet Family Health Service in Worcester. Our families in these three communities are very poor, living in poverty, inmigrants from many countries, undocumented inmigrants fearful and seeking to escape deportation, families without homes or daily living at risk of being homeless. COVID 19 has had a devastating effect upon our entire population but these families, our families are experiencing dire effects.

The needs of our families that come to us everyday

  • They are terrified for themselves and their families, fearful of being tested having to go to the hospital and not returning home (this has happened with a few families and a member has died) If a parent is hospitalized how will they manage?
  • Even those who are sick face difficulties getting tested: they also deal with no insurance having to pay a fee.

To travel to the hospital and sometimes for a visit. They have limited available cash.

  • Lost work, no rights or benefits, had very low salaries just making it- Rent payments are due, Electric bills they fear they will be evicted. High need for infant and toddler supplies especially formula and diapers, Food bills are high and food is scarce. They are hungry.
  • Many of these problems are connected to their economic status- they are just trying to manage. They have to stay at home- adhere to social distancing-going on 3 or 4 weeks so no employment for large number of families in the community and no money for expenses.
  • They are parts of “transnational families” so they shared whatever they could of income with families back in Mexico.

LSA response

In all three sites, diverse multi-cultural staffs (despite their fears for their own families) are reaching out in response to the need described above: in the following ways.

  • Regular telephone contact each day with families to see and supply support.
  • Managing food banks for families in need on a regular basis… food supplies, infant and child care supplies, cleaning supplies.
  • Visiting patients in need of nursing care, and others home based interventions.
  • Connecting with hospitals and health services to get care for families.
  • Providing arts, crafts, toys, etc. for children not in school.

Also we are reaching out to volunteers, donors etc. for donations and service to provide critical need of families Thru these gifts we have been able to increase the days and supplies in our Food Pantries.

Sign of Hope:  We are seeing first hand in this response the words of Pope Francis: “The future of humankind is most of all in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a “you” and themselves as part of and “us”. We all need each other”. (TED Talk: “Why the only future worth building includes everyone” 2017)

And another quote from Pope Francis which describes our anxieties:

“Thick darkness has gathered over squares and streets and our cities. It has taken over our lives. We feel it in the air. We notice it in peoples expressed needs and gestures Now is the time is reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering”

Margaret Leonard, LSA.

Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash


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