Lessons From the First Wave of COVID-19
March seems like a year ago, doesn’t it? So much has happened in these past 6 months. Whenever you turn on the T.V., there are endless news cycles of the number of new cases, followed by another segment on the importance of wearing masks. It seems like COVID is a never-ending newsreel as well as a bleak reality we all are trying to adapt to. This is a moment in time. We have found that moments beget stories that can help to see us through. In this most chaotic and memorable time, our Partners at All In have inspirational stories from funding virtual bingo games for seniors in Nevada to encouraging stories of testing drive-thrus in Middlesex County. The new All In Publication explores these snapshot stories from around the nation and functions, unlike any white paper before it. This publication is also a time capsule to be shared, processed, and built upon as we navigate the time ahead.
To guide the reader through the amazing range of stories we have compiled, this publication is divided into four sections:
- Start Small is a snapshot of low lift changes implemented quickly that can have a significant impact. Projects like The HELLO Project in Reno, NV which focused on increasing social connectedness and reducing the health and mortality issues associated with loneliness for seniors in isolation.
- Inequities Exposed looks at the disparities and social determinants highlighted by the pandemic. From the affordable housing crisis in California that has been accelerated by evictions, unemployment, and the economic fallout from COVID to the momentum gained by the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, this section details how COVID has exposed the weaknesses in our systems. After months of seeing disproportionate rates of COVID diagnoses among people of color, the loss of yet another unarmed black man by the hands of the police forced a long-overdue national conversation.
- Ensuring Community Voice profiles programs that, even throughout this crisis, prioritize the voice of the community. As the saying goes, it is not about “giving voice to the voiceless,” but simply a matter of passing the mic—that is how equity works. In Newark, this manifests in the struggle for tenants’ rights; in Virginia, it takes the shape of reallocating resources in the community direction.
- Finally, in Toward a New Normal, we look at the longer horizon of policy and system change work in a post-COVID future. Far from matters of policy, shopping in safe distances, and wearing masks, this new normal refers to rebuilding our systems. To paraphrase comments from a health equity activist, everything in the system was built and it can be rebuilt without racism, inequity, injustice, patriarchy, and discrimination.
To engage with this work, download the All In publication, here. Don’t stop there though, share this resource with others, promote it within your networks, and let us know what you were able to do afterward. If there is one thing we have learned, it’s that everyone has a lesson they learned from the first wave.