In light of recent events surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we are releasing this public statement to direct our community to sources of good information so that each and every person can make the best possible decision for themselves and their families. This should not be confused for medical advice, anyone needing medical advice should speak to a licensed provider.
We are currently monitoring the situation by reading information available from these resources:
- Arizona Department of Public Health (https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-home)
- Center for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/).
- Maricopa County Department of Public Health website (https://www.maricopa.gov/5460/Coronavirus-Disease-2019).
Balance this with reading the news from your favorite news outlets and you will be well informed as this unfolds. Sometimes too much exposure to this concerning information can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression. If you find yourself depressed or anxious, please call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) if you need someone to talk to about it for free: (https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-HelpLine).
As a Community:
There are many things that we need to do to come together as a community to get through this. In the early days of when we first started hearing about this illness, we were dismayed to hear about an increase of racism toward Asian Americans as they go about their daily lives and that the small businesses that so many in our community depend on for their livelihood were also suffering.
- ASU Asian/Asian Pacific American Students’ Coalition (https://www.facebook.com/aapascasu/posts/1263524933846566)
- Misinformation on novel coronavirus impacting Asian American businesses (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/misguided-virus-fears-hitting-asian-american-businesses)
We strongly condemn these incidents and want everyone in our community to know that we are with you. We must stand with each other against hate and xenophobic assumptions about those with east Asian ancestry. If you or someone you know is being harassed, you can share your story and read about other people’s experiences here:
We must take extra precautions to protect the most vulnerable members of society among us and follow the recommendations that are being disseminated by the CDC and AZDHS websites about how to keep ourselves and everyone safer. Make sure to check in on your family, neighbors, friends, and others to see if there are resources they
need help accessing. We will all be healthier if we work together to pool resources and ensure everyone has what they need.
There are lots of great resources for community organizations and providers, here’s a good summary of them, including some translated resources:
As a Society:
Our community’s immunity is only as strong as the health of the most vulnerable people in society. We strongly urge policy makers to move to fill gaps in social safety nets and access to services so that we can increase the likelihood of good outcomes for everyone as we weather this crisis together as a community.
Access to Healthcare
We have strong concerns about those in society who cannot access healthcare. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has greatly reduced the number of people who are uninsured and underinsured in the United States, there are still many in our society who are facing multiple barriers to healthcare. Insurance is just the first step, but culturally competent providers, ability to pay for copay, testing, urgent care, or emergency room services, language access and a multitude of other barriers exist for our community. Many people may delay or forgo care because of these barriers.
As of February 24th, 2020, after months of opposition by numerous public health organizations and institutions, Public Charge went into effect (https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/) and due to a lot of misconceptions about the policy, many community members are opting to not enroll for health services out of fear for their immigration status. We strongly recommend everyone speak to their immigration lawyer about their situation. As a result of this policy, it is very possible that people will delay or forgo care if they fall ill.
Sick Leave and Childcare
Many community members are hourly wage workers and may not have enough sick leave or maybe no sick leave at all to be able to rest should they fall ill. Many people cannot afford childcare or to be able to stay home with their sick child and may feel like they have no choice other than to send their sick child to school. If someone’s only choice is whether to eat and pay rent or stay home while sick, they will choose a roof over their heads and food in their bellies.
“There is nothing wrong with underlining personal agency, but there is something unfair about using personal responsibility as a basis for assigning blame while simultaneously
denying those who are being blamed the opportunity to exert agency in their lives.”― Paul Farmer, Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues
So while we may not be stockpiling toilet paper or making our own hand sanitizer quite yet, we are washing our hands a lot more frequently, being extra careful about touching our faces, and looking for ways to support good public health policies that will ensure everyone’s safety and health. If you need assistance enrolling for health insurance or need referrals to resources in general, please call 602-265-4598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing everyone happiness and health,
Asian Pacific Community In Action
About the Author
Layal Rabat, M.A.
APCA was formed in 2002 to meet the health related needs of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) individuals and families residing in Arizona. Our vision is to inspire diverse communities to seek healthier futures. Our mission is to provide services, advocacy and education for diverse communities resulting in a healthier and more empowered population seeking good health. Our current programs include Enrollment for Health Insurance such as Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Marketplace (Obamacare), Medicaid (AHCCCS), and referrals to other programs. We are also working on improving oral health access for all Arizonans and ensuring everyone in our beautiful community gets counted for the Census.