What Happens Next? The Long-Term Implications of COVID-19 and Community Response
By now, you’ve probably read hundreds of articles, blog posts, social media posts, and podcasts about COVID-19. You know that this global pandemic is not only causing severe health problems, but also forcing a disruption in the way we function as communities all around the world.
This is a crisis that many of our partners and those in the Community Commons network are fighting on the “front lines.” While local and state public health agencies are managing community responses and coordinating testing, hospitals are providing care and preparing as best as possible for the overload of patients and coronavirus cases, and community collaboratives and nonprofits are acting quickly to fill gaps in social services amongst a sudden increase in unemployment, lack of childcare, and a plethora of other unmet community needs.
At IP3, we’re fortunate in many respects. It’s no small thing that we were already equipped to work from home as a fully-remote team, so it's been a smooth transition to help partners adjust workflow and projects as needed. Although personally, our team is experiencing discomfort and grief as a result of this disruption in daily life, as an organization we continue to work with the change-maker community to think about what happens after this coronavirus crisis, and to consider the long-term implications of the pandemic and our corresponding community response.
There’s no doubt that coronavirus has illuminated inequities in our society. The virus affects vulnerable populations disproportionately, and staying at home is a luxury not all can afford. Older adults and those who are immunocompromised are hit harder by the disease, and many publications have already pointed out that underserved populations including low-wage workers, communities of color, and those who are incarcerated are at increased risk of being affected by the virus and the response, both physically and economically. There has already been an increase in hate crimes, and instances of exploitation in community response.
The Silver Lining
Perhaps it is a silver lining that longstanding inequities are being brought into such sharp focus. We aren’t alone in acknowledging that coronavirus will change the world permanently.
Our hope is that in responding to community needs in the time of COVID-19, communities will simultaneously be able to address and course-correct root causes of inequity, as well as legacies of inequity that we’ve inherited. There is an opportunity now to think about how we, as a society, want to refocus and rebuild when the dust settles.
As an organization whose mission is to advance healthy, equitable, sustainable communities, we have a responsibility to start asking questions, making sense of what’s emerging, and designing for the future to catalyze community change and response. If you have a resource to support COVID-19 response, please share it to our peer-to-peer resource library here. When the spread of coronavirus declines, and we re-enter shared spaces to recover and rebuild, where will we start? What will we need to consider?
Browse our collection of resources designed to equip communities below, and stay tuned. As always, we’ll share all that we uncover to help guide local communities around the nation.