I’ve earned the right to have an opinion about Black Covid-19 because I own the website BlackCovid19.com. Since March I’ve been posting articles, resources, videos, and jokes on the black COVID-19 experience. I’ve read every article, watched every video, sourced every resource, and wrote most of the jokes. Outside of the medical and academic community, you’re going to be hard pressed to find a similar website.
Absorbing all that content was taking a toll on my mental, so I took a few weeks off in early June to complete an online course on something totally unrelated to Covid. Since then, there’s been protests taking the shine off of Covid, yet, the severe impact the disease has on blacks never stopped.
Chester City, and the other predominately black municipalities in Delaware County, are emblematic of what’s going on around the country with Covid hitting blacks hard. Three of the top four towns in Delaware County with Covid cases have large black, hispanic, and African populations: Chester, Yeadon, and Upper Darby.
Watching the response in the county, and Chester in particular, is not unlike other black communities across the country. For example, health providers refuse to provide the number of blacks with positive cases for fear that medical resources will be steered to the most needy population. Blacks complain of not having access to testing and receiving poor medical care in hospitals resulting in horrible results. Blacks make up the bulk of essential workers forced to show up for work with little regard for their safety. Blacks make up 2 to 5 times more deaths to Covid-19 than whites.
Don’t take my word for any of this, go to BlackCovid19.com and do your own research.
There’s so much to be upset about when it comes to our country’s response to the coronavirus and even more to be upset about when it comes to how blacks are being treated.
Yesterday’s mass drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Chester is another example of how things go wrong in black health care.
I rode my bike to City Hall to see how things were going and on the way I stopped to talk to a few guys who own a business in downtown Chester, one block from City Hall, but didn’t know why there was so much activity in the City Hall parking lot. Either my buddies are total imbeciles, or this event wasn’t communicated well throughout the city.
The flyers emailed to me about the event, which I posted on this blog, came from an organization outside of the city and it was the only mention I received, so I can imagine a lot of people may have missed this event for not knowing about it.
I’m personally not a fan of the drive-thru COVID-19 test, particularly this far along in the pandemic. Early on, it made more sense than now. By the time Chester had their first drive-thru testing on May 12, there had been no other public testing offered anywhere in the city up to that point. Since May 28, ChesPenn has been offering testing a couple days a week by appointment only. If I had a choice, I’d be more inclined to call ChesPenn and make an appointment as opposed to randomly showing up at a drive-thru testing site waiting in line for who-knows-how-long.
But ChesPenn isn’t doing much to promote their testing, either.
As I watched both drive-thru testing events in Chester, I can’t understand how this system is preferred over setting up a designated location where people can get a test any day of the week in a controlled environment – like a doctor’s office or clinic. Both times, I saw dozens of health care providers, volunteers, nurses, and who ever else was on site necessary to manage the hundreds of tests being administered to people in cars and to those who walked up.
Reports indicate about 300 to 400 hundred people were tested each time. It’s estimated to cost $25,000 to conduct each testing. That comes out to about $70 per test. I think you could do 4-tests per hour. If so, why can’t a facility be open to do 20 tests per day. That’s a 5-hour day for maybe a staff of three. You can test the same 400 people in 4-weeks in a more humane out-patient fashion than in a Chick-fil-A drive-thru system. If we could test 100 people per week (400 test a month), we’d already be 400 tests ahead of where we are with the two drive thru events. Most importantly, people can get a test closer to when they probably need it and not on the next scheduled ‘big drive-thru event.’
If you couldn’t follow that arithmetic, here’s some super easy math…health care insurance companies have saved millions upon millions of dollars during the pandemic. Consider how many people have avoided doctor visits since March and all the claims that haven’t been filed with health insurance companies as a result. Match that up against the monthly premium you or your employer is paying them. What do you think is happening to all those premiums? The health insurance companies are piling up money. All we have to show for it is nurses getting laid off because no one is coming to the hospital for routine procedures. (At least car insurance companies were nice enough to give most of us a discount during the pandemic days).
These health insurance companies should be happy to pay the $25,000 for the COVID-19 testing. It’s a small fraction of the avoided costs they’re racking up during this pandemic. Someone should have been on the phone with Independence Blue Cross from day one. Keystone First just opened a new health clinic on 9th and Flower. Can we borrow the space to do some testing on a daily basis?
Instead, the paper says the mayor asked for testing in March. No one came to the rescue until May and again in June. How many people had COVID by then? – hundreds.
I don’t know why our health bureau along with the smart people at City Hall in partnership with the health insurance companies that serve the city and the great big hospital right up the street couldn’t put their heads together and come up with a way to test this hard hit community on their own.
The health insurance companies are watching how excited we get when we do drive-thru COVID test and they don’t have to shoulder the bill. I’m sure they’re licking their chops knowing we’re happy to receive our health services like this. I can only imagine they’ll find more ways to not serve the health needs of our community and let us enjoy this new normal of drive-thru health care…because we don’t complain or even see anything wrong with this model.
If you’re okay with drive-thru health care, the paper says there will be a couple more of these COVID drive-thrus sometime in the future. Maybe you’re hear about it in advance, maybe not.
If you’d like a more humane COVID-19 test, ChesPenn is offering their testing until July 14. (610-471-0279 for an appointment). CVS and Rite-Aid do testing, too. But, not in Chester.
BlackCovid19.com is content from a lot of sources on the black disparity when it comes to COVID-19. Articles are as current as yesterday. You can be fooled into thinking it ain’t no thing, it’s fake news, it’s all just a mirage, or you can do some research and demand more especially if you believe Black Health Care Matters. It’s your call. It’s your health.