COVID19 Has Changed Life as We Knew It

By Dr. Jane L. Delgado, Ph.D., MS
President and CEO
National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance).

These past few months have been extraordinary. What began as news about a few people far away getting a respiratory condition, is now a pandemic that has touched every aspect of our daily life. So, what are we as Latinas to do in this most upending of times? Our tendency is to do what we always do — get the task done and plow forward. And while that may have gotten us through a lot of the naturally occurring turbulence of life, COVID19 has disrupted our way of life now and the way we will live in the future.

More than ever we need to stay informed. It is essential that we rely on reputable sources of information for the best science and its applicability to our life. And while optimism is essential to get through difficult moments; false hopes, false cures, as well as false fears only make a difficult situation worse.

Not all that we see or hear is meant to inform. The key facts are that –

(1) Corona viruses are not new. SARS and MERS are corona viruses that we had heard of but they were elsewhere; COVID 19 is everywhere and there will be more corona viruses.

(2) At a fundamental level, the U.S. is behind in analyzing data on Hispanics as there is no national standard for the data to be collected by States. States and localities vary on whether or not they collect and report data on Hispanics. It is not surprising that as a result, the impact of COVID19 on Latinas has not been reported.

(3) At this point, there is no cure, no treatment, and no vaccines but there are dedicated scientists, researchers, clinicians, and companies trying to find solutions. It takes time to go from development to approval, then to availability to the public. At the Alliance, we work with the science community to have better information on how the virus is unfolding in the Hispanic communities throughout the nation. We work with legislative bodies to make sure that local community-based members are included in relief efforts and to ensure access to testing and treatment for all; and, we help inform people of the latest developments by providing a series of bilingual infographics, updating a bilingual booklet in real-time (download both at healthyamericas.org or nuestrasalud.org), and offering our Su Familia Helpline (1-866-783-2645) to answer questions and locate a health provider. The knowledge about all things COVID19 is moving at a very rapid pace. What may have been highlighted as a likely treatment one day may be seen as a fake cure the next day.

For us, as Latinas, what we have to do in this new COVID19 altered world is clear. We must stay informed and up-to-date, follow local guidance, and help ourselves and our families — the ones we had and the new ones we’ve created in the situation – to stay healthy and calm. When this episode of COVID19 has passed there will be a new normal and we must be ready to embrace it.

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