Embedding Equity Into Emergency Operations
he COVID-19 pandemic has revealed stark inequities in the health and economic security of California’s communities, with particularly alarming disparities in health outcomes by race and ethnicity. These disparities are driven by current inequitable policies and practices and a legacy of historic discrimination that puts Black, Latinx and other communities most impacted by inequities in harm’s way. For example, the lack of adequate protective measures for many “essential workers”—a population that is disproportionately people of color—has fostered a racial divide between those who can “shelter in place” and those who cannot. As the crisis grows, there is an urgent need for Local Health Departments to work with community members, elected officials, and other departments and agencies to address these inequities through their emergency response and recovery processes.