Regional task force created to tackle inequities caused by coronavirus for San Diegans of color

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 20:25:51-04

SAN DIEGO COUNTY (KGTV)-- New SANDAG and San Diego County statistics show an alarming number of San Diegans of color are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Wednesday, community leaders and elected officials announced the creation of a new regional task force to tackle the root causes of the inequities.

The coronavirus did not create society's inequities.

"But it has definitely exasperated them, and it has highlighted them," San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.

That is why community leaders announced the creation of the new Regional COVID-19 Task Force for Equitable Recovery. They will work with elected officials to tackle the underlying problems that lead to inequities such as job, food, healthcare, and economic losses, felt by many San Diegans of color.

"You are valued," National City mayor, Alejandra Sotelo Solis, said in the Zoom announcement. "You have made a contribution to our community, and we want you to stay healthy."

"The elected officials will then shoulder the obligation to take their recommendations and suggestions and translate them into policies that can be introduced for a vote to make the change real," Fletcher added.

A newly released SANDAG reportfound that when compared to the white population, Black and Hispanic people are more than four times more likely to live in areas that have been impacted both by COVID-19 and unemployment.

New San Diego County numbers show that while Hispanics and Latinos make up 34% of the county population, they account for 67% of the county's positive coronavirus cases.

"Not one community needs the testing, tracing, and treatment," JoAnn Fields with API initiative said. "But it needs to be on an equal level so that we are all protected as a whole community."

The task force hopes to close the understanding, trust, access, and resource gap felt by people of color, in a proactive way. For example, even before a coronavirus vaccine comes out, they plan to have resource materials available in various languages and create policies that will distribute vaccines in heavily impacted zip codes.

"[We will try] to come up with messaging to the communities that we represent so that when the vaccine does become available, we will maybe get better compliance," Southeast San Diego physician, Dr. Rodney Hood, said.

The public is welcome to join the task force's first Zoom meeting on June 24, 2020, at 4 PM.