Mar 30, 2020
The coronavirus crisis hitting the rest of the country has reached Michigan. The number of cases in the state ranks fifth in the country.
The state’s epicenter is in the tri-county metropolitan Detroit area and it’s worst in the city of Detroit and Wayne County, where Detroit is located.
Politicians and the media keep drumming into our heads the need for social distancing and hand washing. They never acknowledge that pandemics, like most public health issues, are not simply medical. They are social problems and require social solutions.
It leads people to blame those who contract the disease themselves for not practicing good hygiene and social behavior.
While the population is not as densely packed as in a city like New York, people still live in closer proximity than those in other parts of the state. Yet there are practically no major grocery chain stores inside the city. Many residents have no car and are forced to take Ubers or Lyfts or ride buses to get groceries or to go work, for those with jobs who cannot work from home. Workers have complained of being forced to work in too close conditions. Bus drivers shut down the bus system and forced the city to provide them with better protection against the disease.
It is estimated there are almost 11,000 homeless people in the city of Detroit, and many long-term residents have faced foreclosure on their homes and water-shutoffs for years.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced officials to at least pay lip service to providing some relief. They say they have increased access to shelters for more of the homeless, but what are the chances that means they can maintain adequate social distancing and have access to adequate showers and washing their hands frequently?
More “run-of-the-mill” diseases like the flu already kill thousands annually. Conditions like these endanger the public health at all times and are criminal in a society with such tremendous wealth and the technology that exists.