Inequity & COVID-19 | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Inequity and COVID-19

In St. Louis, it is an unfortunate truism that a person’s zip code is an accurate predictor of their health outcomes. The effects of the novel corona virus have magnified this claim. Nationally, low-income and minority populations have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 

These groups are more likely to be "essential" workers, thus less likely to be able to effectively self-isolate due to socioeconomic pressures. Many rely on public transit to get to work and cannot afford (or don’t have access to) grocery delivery. Some who are not essential workers and have jobs that cannot be moved online have been furloughed or laid off, turning to the social safety net for food, rent and utility assistance, and basic household supplies – often while losing access to health insurance. 

That loss can be deadly, since non-white populations have higher rates of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity – all conditions that increase a person’s risk of severe illness with COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, the elderly in minority and low-income populations face increased exposure to the effects of the virus. 

The Brown School community is dedicated to advancing equity in our community , nation and world, which has led our faculty, staff and students to investigate and publish research that highlights these inequities. Some have been called on by local officials to lead the St. Louis area's efforts to fight the effects of COVID-19. This page will pull together research and resources that we hope are useful and timely as we move forward together.

We also want to acknowledge that the death of George Floyd at the hands of police has created a whole new level of trauma for people of color. To that end, we have put together an additional page of resources focused on how to advocate for social justice and protest police brutality during these very uncertain and troubling times.

Articles and Research from the Brown School Community


State and Municipal Resources

Behavioral and Mental Health Resources

Resources for People with Disabilities 

Community Resource Hubs

  • Beyond Housing’s 24:1 Community hub: For all coronavirus-related community news and resources
  • Prepare STL: A collaborative campaign powered by the Missouri Foundation for Health, Regional Health Commission, the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and other community health organizations 
  • STL Response: A comprehensive, crowd-sourced dashboard for regional COVID-19 resources and news 
  • WEPOWER: WEPOWER has teamed up with local organizations Arch City Defenders and Clark-Fox Family Foundation to share resources and updates as families across St. Louis navigate COVID-19
  • United Way 2-1-1: COVID-19 Where to Turn: United Way is a comprehensive dashboard of federal, state and community agencies providing assistance in all or parts of Missouri and Illinois
  • #314Together: Facebook group for sharing resources, support and rallying together
  • St. Louis City and County Libraries: Visit the website to get an e-card. County locations are partnering with the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank to offer an emergency diaper drive-through.

Broadband Resources

Utility and Housing Information

  • Ameren: Suspending all disconnections for non-payment and forgiving late payment fees for residential and business customers
  • Spire: Suspending all disconnections and late fees until May 1, 2020, and providing energy relief for homes and small businesses that need help
  • Missouri American Water: Suspending disconnects and reconnecting those who are currently shut off 
  • Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC) has created a one-pager, COVID-19 and Fair Housing Rights: What You Need to Know.

COVID-19 Testing Sites

  • St. Louis/ Metro East regional testing sites: KMOV4’s list of the COVID-19 testing sites in the St. Louis metro area (updated April 13, 2020)
  • Testing sites – City of St. Louis: 
  • Missouri Testing Sites: For a list of Missouri testing sites. Many sites still require physician orders or evaluation before testing is approved
  • St. Louis County COVID-19 Dashboard: includes information on disease surveillance, cases by zip, maps, testing locations, and much more

Open Classroom Webinars

The Brown School is offering a series of free webinars, many of which are focused on the disparate effects of COVID-19 on minority populations or other equity-focused issues. We've assembled a list of on-demand, free learning opportunities that are broadly applicable to the fields of social work, public health, and social policy. Access all of this free content

Social Justice Resources

Following the death of George Floyd, we have put together an additional page of resources focused on how to advocate for social justice and protest police brutality during these very uncertain and troubling times. Access resources here.