Coronavirus did not destroy the homeless, as many feared

Coronavirus did not destroy the homeless, as many feared

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San Francisco: When coronoviruses emerged in the US this year, public health officials and advocates suspected of being homeless roamed shelters and tent campuses, devastating vulnerable people, often chronic health issues.
They raised their hands to take people to hotel rooms, drive out crowded houses and move tents to the sanctioned outdoor camps.
While the shelters witnessed some large COVID-19 outbreaks, the virus has not yet shown havoc to the homeless population as many were feared. However, researchers and advocates say that the U.S. Much is unknown about the estimated half-million people without housing in India.
In a country that has crossed 5 million identified cases and 169,000 deaths, researchers do not know why so few outbreaks are seen among the homeless.
“I’m surprised, I think I can say that, because it’s a very vulnerable population. I don’t know what we’re going to see after this,” Dr. Said Deborah Bourne, who oversees the health policy for the homeless of COVID-19. Response in San Francisco Department of Public Health. “So it’s called novel virus, because we don’t know.”
More than 200 of the estimated 8,000 homeless people in San Francisco have tested positive for the virus, and half came from an outbreak of a homeless shelter in April. A homeless person is one of the city’s 69 deaths.
In other places with large homeless populations, the number is equally low. In King County, which includes Seattle, more than 400 out of an estimated 12,000 homeless residents have been diagnosed. In Los Angeles County, more than 1,200 out of an estimated 66,000 homeless people have been diagnosed.
It is slightly higher in Maricopa County, including Phoenix, where about 500 of the 7,400 homeless people tested positive have killed nine.
Health experts say the numbers do not indicate how widespread the disease is or how long-term it may be. It is unknown how many people have died indirectly from virus-related conditions. While coronoviruses can spread outside more easily than indoors, staying outside has its risks.
Due to closures at public libraries and other places, homeless people say they are short on food and water, restrooms and cash. In San Francisco, 50 homeless people died over an eight-week period in April and May – twice the normal rate, said Dr. Barry Zwinn, medical director of the Department of Public Health’s street medicine program.
Official reasons are pending, but Zwinn’s notes suggest that fentanyl overdose is on the rise and orders to stay indoors may prevent people from helping quickly. He knew that isolation could lead to overdose.
“I think it’s happened, and whether it’s more or less than expected, I don’t know,” he said. “It’s frustrating to be able to forecast something as a problem, do everything you can to prevent it as a problem, but it’s purely a matter of competing priorities . ”
It is difficult to find good data on the homeless population because hospitals and death certificates do not track housing status, Dr. Director of the Center for Vulnerable Population at the University of California at San Francisco. Margot Kushel says.
She was hesitant to draw conclusions about how the epidemic has affected homeless people overall, but said “this could be an example where outside and uncontested, just in the context of COVID, probably makes people less at risk.” Let in. But then, there’s a part of it. That we don’t really know. ”
New York City has more than 1,400 infections and 104 deaths among homeless residents out of more than 226,000 positive cases and 19,000 deaths. Unlike the West Coast cities, where many people are untouched, around 60,000 people live in shelters.
But because New York shelters have more children than the general population, when deaths are adjusted for age, the death rate for homeless people is 67% higher than the overall population, Coalition’s Policy for the Homeless Director Gisele Rouitier said.
“He’s exceptionally high, in our opinion,” she said.
However, pushing for private hotel rooms for the homeless, San Diego’s Convention Center has a spacious shelter of 1,200 people, which is a case of 6-foot (2-meter) spacing, frequent cleaning and strict adherence to the fa├žade. It is possible to keep the count low. -Learn.
“We have a team of firefighters, who walk the floor to find cots on the floor where they are supposed to be,” said Fire Deputy Chief Chris Heuser, incident commander for the shelter.
He estimates that about 3,000 people have come through it. And with more than 6,000 COVID-19 tests administered, 18 have been positive so far. There have been more than 200 positive cases and no deaths among nearly 8,000 homeless people in San Diego County.
Richard Scott, who is in his mid-’50s, moved into the convention center about three months before his roommate, who is medically fragile, told him he could either stay home and not work. May or may not leave. Since then, Scott has slept on a cot with about 500 men on a roof with high ceilings and a large floor.
Sometimes there is a stolen or disruptive person, but overall Scott calls it a safe place to live.
“We wash our hands 20 times a day – well some – and we check our temperature every day, and they’ve become real strict about this,” Scott said. “I’m very happy to be here, it’s a blessing.”
At 63, Virginia McShane sleeps in a secluded part of the center. She could not afford a $ 25 a night hostel after arriving in April.
“We’ve got a rear entrance and a front entrance, and this air keeps circulating very well, so I guess we haven’t all come down with coronoviruses,” she said.
The rates at which homeless people have tested positive for COVID-19 are everywhere, says Barbara DiPietro, senior policy director at the Council for the Homeless Council, which is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Issue.
Surveillance testing of more than 10,000 people at shelters and campuses nationwide has resulted in a rate increase of only 8%. But DePitro says five cities showed rates of 0 to 66% in more than 200 test incidents of homeless residents.
“So it’s a wild adaptation, depending on the moving target, what and how and when you test,” she said.

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