Whether we're threatened by the second or the third spike of this persistent and deadly COVID-19 pandemic, parents are again faced with school closings and re-openings that have them confused and in doubt. Is their child better off at home being schooled on-line or attending their local brick and mortar school with their classmates and teachers?
Goodbye 2020...Bring on 2021
2020 will always be remembered as the year of the COVID- 19 pandemic. Not since the mid 14th century, when the Black Plague decimated one third of Europe’s population killing 75 million people and ushering in the Dark Ages, has the human race experienced such a natural disaster.
Although the annual turning of the calendar page is only an artifice, one year giving way to the next seems to instill hope in the human heart. We make New Year's resolutions. We look forward to better times. We use our goals and desires for the new year to obliterate the past year's disappointments and pain. We believe the future will be better than the past. We have hope.
Meals On Wheels, which delivers meals to the elderly in their homes and at senior centers, has seen demand for their services explode since the pandemic started.
- When COVID-19 hit, a staggering 89% of Meals On Wheels programs reported increased demand for meals, practically overnight.
- 79% of Meals On Wheels programs saw their demand double.
- Older adults who were mobile prior to the pandemic can no longer safely go to stores to buy their own food, and many do not have loved ones close by to help them through this time. Add this to the roster of seniors who were already homebound.
The nation's health care system is once again faced with overwhelming need pressing against limited resources. Medical professionals, including health care social workers, are forced to make hard choices that test the ethical boundaries of medical arbitrage. The scenarios below are all real-life situations communicated to GVT by health care social workers in the past month.
During this national crisis, child welfare agencies are struggling to balance their mission to protect children from abuse and neglect with their duty to protect their workforce. The vast majority of children involved in child welfare cases live at home. Parents are often ordered to participate in certain programs (or requested to do so voluntarily), while caseworkers make regular visits to check on the situation in the home.
The letter below from a young nurse to her grandmother touches on the painful separation from one another we all feel that has caused our country’s uneven response to, and resulting suffering from, this terrible pandemic.
Ellen is a 31-year-old nurse working in a Seattle intensive care unit for the past six months watching Covid patients die alone. She sat down after her shift one night and wrote this letter to her grandmother, who she hadn’t visited in more than a year.
I think this thoughtful young woman captures the suffering that social separation can cause. With her permission, I publish her touching letter below...
The VA has tested 913,624 veterans and reported 83,527 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began back in March. 4, 223 veterans have died from COVID. Sadly, 66 VA employees have died trying to save their lives.
High Risk Group
Nearly 50% of veterans are 65 or older, which puts them at greater risk of severe illness or death due to COVID-19. Additionally, many veterans are at a higher risk of respiratory illness due to the environments and toxins they were exposed to while on active duty, which also places them in a higher risk group for coronavirus.
With the third virulent spike of the COVID-19 pandemic descending on the world, social workers are taking a pro-active, creative look at how they can be of service to the most vulnerable. They sit in a unique position during a public health crisis, one that’s often overlooked. From offering emotional and mental health support to educating the larger community, their role entails navigating what is often a complex and evolving situation.
Sometimes this blog can do nothing more than report the devotion to service demonstrated by social service agencies and nonprofits across the country. Four nonprofits reached far outside their comfort zone to help mitigate the devastating effects of COVID-19. Here are their stories.
A United Nations policy brief just published outlines the unique vulnerability of women across the globe to this COVID-19 pandemic.
UN Policy Brief – Summary of Findings
- The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems which are in turn amplifying the impacts of the pandemic.
- Compounded economic impacts are felt especially by women and girls who are generally earning less, saving less, and holding insecure jobs or living close to poverty.
- Unpaid care work has increased, with children out-of-school, heightened care needs of older persons, and overwhelmed health services.
- As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens economic and social stress coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, gender-based violence is increasing exponentially.