Though several individuals and entities have declared the COVID-19 pandemic, a thing of the past, it is not only still present via ongoing cases and deaths, the impact will stay with us for a lifetime, in part because of how the global health event has changed life for Black Americans.
Here are four ways COVID has changed Black America. Certainly, there are more.
CHURCH ATTENDANCE, PARTICIPATION
Though there is no definitive number, we know many Black churches closed their doors amid the pandemic, simply unable to pay the bills. A New York study found that the highest rates of church closures per general population were in areas with the highest percentage of Blacks. Other states report similar findings.
Additionally, for most Black churches, attendance rates have yet to return to pre-COVID numbers, with many perfectly fine attending online.
“We came back to having in-person church faster than most, but we still have way more empty seats these days,” said Carstell Walker Jr., a longtime member of Blueridge United Methodist Church in Houston’s Sunnyside community.
And with fewer members, comes fewer dollars (tithes).
Funeral homes enacted strict attendance limits, spacing mandates and mask-wearing requirements. Though these restrictions have, for the most part, been lifted, funeral directors say attendance numbers are still down.
BIOLOGY & PHYSIOLOGY
Doctors contend COVID has, for some, altered their biology and/or physiology. Long COVID, for example, is a reality that will remain for the foreseeable future, in ways both known and yet to be known.
OPENNESS TO VACCINES
Blacks have long been hesitant about doctor visits and vaccinations due to historical mistreatment and abuse. However, during the pandemic, something changed. Statistics show, by Nov. 2021, Black vaccination rates grew similar to other races.
[Source: The Root]