America is far from out of the woods with COVID-19.
Yes, the dead are down. Infections too.
But vaccine deployment has been severely delayed by inclement weather and supply chain issues.
And on Monday, the total number of people who have died from the coronavirus in the United States exceeded 500,000.
Proportionally, it’s not as bad as the UK or Italy, but it’s still a staggering number.
One thing remains quite obvious: inequalities remain a major problem.
New figures show life expectancy in the United States has declined by one year in the first six months of 2020 – but the gap between black and white Americans is now six years.
It is the largest for more than two decades. And when it comes to vaccines, communities of color appear to be struggling.
Deni Taveras saw this up close – and a lot of grief too.
She has lost six family members to COVID-19 – and 16 of them have been infected.
Deni showed Sky News a photo of the last time they were all together, before pointing out everyone affected or defeated by the virus. It’s a gloomy, gloomy preview.
“It was devastating,” she says. “I didn’t see it coming and the point is that as immigrants a lot of people don’t believe or consider themselves invincible… or don’t heed demands or obey recommendations. “
Deni is a member of the Prince George County Council. The zip code she works in – 20783 – still has the highest number of infections and deaths from the pandemic, and she believes communities of color like hers are being squeezed out.
“For me, the fact that we don’t have a postcode test site, we don’t have a postcode vaccination site, says a lot to me.”
Deni thinks it’s self-destructive surveillance at best.
“Not providing vaccines to this population is costing everyone,” she said. “We are your frontline workers. We are your essential workers. We are the ones who make sure things get done, the snow is cleared, your streets salty, your grocery stores are stocked.”
On University Boulevard, a bustling crossroads in the heart of the community, the streets are buzzing with people. Young men chop coconuts on the side of the road while Spanish music is played. Many wear masks, but they are also very exposed. Many of them live in overcrowded houses. Many do not have health insurance and work in top jobs.
Deni is hopeful that the Biden administration will eventually make a difference – because the president believes in science and is willing to take the advice of those who know more.
But there is a problem of enduring legacy here – suffering that endures and will be difficult to turn back, suffering that Deni said could have been largely avoided.
She says the declining life expectancy “has cost us money. It has cost us generational wealth. You know, again, this is part of the structural racism challenges that we continue to face. as a people “.
When it comes to vaccines, skepticism is often blamed for low adoption. But it often has a lot to do with a lack of access – to pharmacies, hospitals, providers and transportation.
As we move away from the area, we see a sign near a church that says “Praise God for letting us see another year”.
In America, we often have the impression that faith runs as deep as iniquity.