Americans are currently experiencing an epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. At the time of publishing, there are over half a million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 20,000 Americans have died. While the numbers continue rising by tens of thousands every day and more states are issuing shelter-in-place advisories or mandatory quarantines, Americans are confused amid misinformation from prominent figures and are at particular disadvantage due to the culture of avoiding going to see a healthcare provider because of high costs.

The first U.S. case of COVID-19 was discovered in late January. By the end of February, there were 24 cases and one American death. In the first few weeks of the outbreak testing was very limited, sometimes as few as 300 for an entire state. It then took time for health officials to realize that the tests they received were flawed, lacking critical components and delivering faulty results

In late February, a Seattle team researching the flu found they could test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but were running

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Americans are currently experiencing an epidemic caused by a novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. At the time of publishing, there are over 7000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States and more than 100 Americans have died. The numbers are growing exponentially every day as testing has been slow to implement and official messaging has confusingly contradicted itself at times and dangerously downplayed the risks at others

The coronavirus is easy to pass from person to person, and people may be contagious even without presenting any symptoms. While most people may not be at risk of lasting harm or death from COVID-19, it poses a significant risk to older people and those with compromised immune systems. Epidemics take a toll on healthcare services as the system is burdened with people seeking care, which also puts vulnerable people at higher risk of death. It is for that reason that it is everyone’s job to follow social distancing measures to avoid spreading illness to others, and keep the epidemic in slow motion.

“Social distancing” is a term applied to actions that are meant to stop or slow

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Patient safety is a discipline that emphasizes safety in healthcare through the prevention, reduction, reporting, and analysis of incidents that lead to adverse effects. In 2016, such occurrences cost the U.S. and European healthcare systems $317.93 billion and are expected to rise to $383.7 billion by 2022. The bulk of these costs are directly associated with additional medical expenses, followed by increased mortality rates and loss of productivity. When indirect costs are accounted for, the estimated economic impact skyrockets to nearly $1 trillion annually

Data indicates that the average cost per incidence of preventable harm is approximately $58,776 per injury. Medicare and other insurers usually don’t cover the cost of medical treatment related to adverse events and the remaining costs are typically externalized through malpractice insurance. The patients themselves typically shoulder indirect costs and the economy at large also suffers through disability payments, lost productivity and other associated costs.

While patients may not be in control of preventing all possible harm,

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Social justice is the concept that all individuals deserve equal rights and opportunities — including the right to health. Even in 2020, inequities remain in healthcare that are avoidable, unnecessary, and unjust. These inequities are the result of established policies and practices that maintain an unequal concentration of money, power, resources, and perceived value within society among communities based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, country of origin, or disability. Racism, homophobia/transphobia, and misogyny are all insidious forms of bigotry that have long-reaching effects into healthcare.

Over 30% of medical expenses faced by communities of color can be associated with health inequities, and are more likely to be affected by conditions

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