— By: Theresa Coates Ellis — The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted our City of Manassas and the rest of the country. We are living through business shutdowns, job losses, food insecurity, education challenges, over-worked social services, stressed healthcare systems, rent and utility struggles, and much more. We have come together as a community to support each other and provide the resources needed to prepare and work through this crisis.
But the data shows us that there have been groups within our community that have been gravely affected by Covid-19: Our communities of color, both Black/African American, and Latinx/Hispanic. It is important that we point this out, because this year has highlighted some of the inequalities that are built into out society. It has challenged all of us to take a closer look at how we can work together to make real change in our communities.
The CDC has reported that people with underlying health conditions or chronic diseases are at a higher risk for complications from Covid-19. This is especially concerning since the numbers also show that the populations with higher incidence of chronic diseases in the US are communities of color. These chronic diseases include cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
We know from the research, and from my experience as a healthcare manager, that these can be preventable with the awareness and practice of health-promoting lifestyle choices. That’s why I want to focus on providing the information and resources for our high risk communities to get healthier and prevent the incidence of the virus, as we work on making sure that those who have been infected get the proper care they need.
As your Manassas City Mayor, I will continue my #HealthyTogether initiative, which will bring public health experts, educators and community members together to provide easy access to information, healthcare resources, healthy activities, nutrition education and much more. All in English and Spanish, so that our community as a whole can begin to PREVENT chronic disease and lower risk of complications from COVID-19. This is our way of fighting together and moving forward, without leaving anyone behind.