Health equity alliance calls on Baker to improve COVID-19 protections

Health equity alliance calls on Baker to improve COVID-19 protections

A coalition of health, housing, labor and community advocates is calling on Governor Charlie Baker to do more to protect families and workers from the physical and financial perils posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Massachusetts Health Equity Alliance wrote an open letter to Governor Baker calling for the state to implement and enforce greater health and economic protections for workers and families — especially those hardest hit by the coronavirus — and to supply more detailed data on COVID-19 infection rates so that public health officials and policymakers can better understand how the virus is spreading. Hundreds of doctors, medical staff and community activists have signed the letter so far.

At a press conference today about the letter and the alliance’s goals, MTA President Merrie Najimy joined Noel Sanders of the Boston Community Health Initiative; state Representative Mike Connolly; Gladys Vega, executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative; Dr. Caroline Buckee, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Lady Lawrence Carty of Housing=Health; Natalicia Tracy, executive director of the Brazilian Worker Center; Ed Childs of UNITE HERE; and Colin Killick, executive director of the Disability Policy Consortium.

“Our biggest fear is that when cases flare up at a school in a community where there is a vulnerable population, we will again witness the worst that COVID-19 has to offer,” Najimy said.

She advocated for the state to pass progressive taxes requiring that the most wealthy pay their fair share so that enough funding can be generated to address the materials and protocols needed to slow the transmission of COVID-19 — as well as to fund community needs such as child care and housing that are growing because of the economic impact of the pandemic.