Population Health Research Brief Series

Black Lives Matter: Police Brutality in the Era of COVID-19

Tyra Jean
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shock the globe and disproportionately affect Black communities, an additional long-running U.S. epidemic has rapidly gained domestic and global awareness: disproportionate police brutality against the Black community. Being killed by the police is a leading cause of death for Black men in America.1 Blacks are 3.5 times more likely than Whites to be killed by a police officer in the U.S.2

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Workers with Disabilities May Remain Unemployed Long after the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jennifer D. Brooks
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While the re-opening of the U.S. economy promises a return to work for some, this may not be the case for many displaced workers with disabilities. Workers with disabilities are often the first fired and last hired.1 The COVID-19 labor market is no exception to this rule. Recently released data suggest that employment rates between March and April 2020 decreased 18% for the general population, but 24% for workers with disabilities.2 While the “new normal” of virtual work has created more inclusive and flexible online work environments,3 people with disabilities are losing, instead of gaining, traction in the labor market. But, why? 

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COVID-19, Anxiety, and Depression: Evidence from the U.S. Household Pulse Survey

Xiaoyan Zhang
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A large share of U.S. adults report feelings of anxiety and depression during COVID-19. In a recent survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau from May 21st to May 26th, 63% of U.S. adults reported feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge several days in the past week. Fifty-four percent reported not being able to stop or control worrying, 51% reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless, and 54% reported having little interest or pleasure in doing things. There are important demographic differences in these outcomes. For example, females were more likely than males to report more severe feelings of anxiety and depression. Hispanics/Latinos and adults aged 18-29 were most likely to report daily feelings of anxiety and depression. Despite their much higher COVID-19 health risk, older adults (age 70+) were the least likely to report feelings of anxiety or depression.

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The Health Consequences of Riot Control Methods

Austin McNeill Brown
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The killing of George Floyd at the hands of police has set off worldwide protests. Aggressive police responses, advocated by the President, have exacerbated the inevitable violence attached to such demonstrations, mainly through the use of riot control tactics. Since 9/11, police forces across the country have become increasingly militarized.

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Lerner Center Research Affiliate Scott Landes featured on NPR

Landes was featured on NPR this morning to speak on his research about COVID-19 death rates among those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He says the high death rate among this population “is disturbing, but it’s not surprising.”

Landes is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Lerner Center research affiliate.

Listen to or read the story: COVID-19 Infections And Deaths Are Higher Among Those With Intellectual Disabilities.

Protecting your Mental Health during COVID-19

Ashley Van Slyke
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Approximately one in five American adults live with a mental illness.1 This number does not include the many people who are stressed or lonely, but who do not have an official mental illness diagnosis. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders made necessary by COVID-19 are exacerbating mental health issues among those both with and without diagnosed mental illnesses. This brief describes the relationship between loneliness, mental health, and physical health, discusses the impacts that COVID-19 is having on mental health, and suggests strategies we can try to protect our mental health during this uncertain time.

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Aging-in-Place Organizations are Key to Building Disaster Resilience for Older Adults

Claire Pendergrast
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KEY FINDINGS

  • Aging-in-place organization leaders view providing disaster preparedness information or resources as an appropriate role for their organization to support older adults’ disaster resilience.
  • Nearly all organizations had a disaster or emergency plan in place, though the details and formality of plans varied widely between organizations.
  • Leaders of aging-in-place organizations felt that they should have the opportunity to participate in disaster planning conversations with government leaders to share their insight on older adults’ specific needs and identify opportunities for their organization to contribute to disaster preparedness and response.
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