Experts believe that homeless people are at much likely to get coronavirus and transmit it. As they don’t follow the basic hygiene and are normally in contact with many people daily, the risk of coronavirus for them is doubled.
Only in the USA, the number of homeless people is nearly 200,000, as per the White House report. The most populous areas of homeless people include Washington, California, and Oregon.
As per coronavirus statistics, it has reached the West Coast, where almost half of the total coronavirus cases reported in the USA are recorded. The experts have not studied the spread of coronavirus in homeless people yet but the prevalence of diseases in them, as proven by previous studies show a high probability of their vulnerability.
Chunhuei Chi is the director of the Center for Global Health at Oregon State University, he says that; “They are a double risk. One is a risk to themselves, the other is a risk to society.”
Despite this high risk, only a few communities have actually taken steps to control the spread of coronavirus in homeless communities.
The maximum deaths by coronavirus have been reported inside King County. It is one among the very few states which have actually taken effective action against coronavirus spread. King County has installed more than 12 module units to facilitate homeless people where they can get a treatment and eventually completely recover from it. They are established in county-owned buildings which more or less make the size of a mobile house.
These units are currently home to many homeless people. The news suggests the county to buy a motel where patients can be treated under isolation. The experts appreciate this approach and they believe it should be followed in other areas too especially where the virus has killed maximum lives.
Chi shared that; “This should be treated as an emergency policy, not as a permanent solution to homelessness, but more of framing it as a solution for containing the spread.”
San Francisco confirmed that it is also developing a plan to save homeless people from coronavirus but there are no details given to the media. Earlier this week. San Francisco postponed a major event which was to provide medical facilities to homeless people fearing the exposure to the virus.
The city issued a statement explaining the reason for this postpone as; “because they are older as a group and typically have multiple chronic medical conditions.”
In the South, the county of Los Angeles is sending medical teams to attend 300 plus homeless people to promote awareness of controlling coronavirus. These teams will educate them on personal hygiene, the transmission of this virus and the sharing of food, physical contact, etc.
The health department is also planning to set quarantine for providing isolated treatment facilities for coronavirus suspects. These teams would also advise people to avoid physical contact with everyone and stay at home or their places if they notice any symptoms.
A camp for homeless persons has been established in Oregon’s capital city, which would bring these people to a controlled situation. Jimmy Jones is the executive director of this agency Community Action, he says that;
“The homeless population in our community would be in a very difficult position of following all the health care advice that’s coming out right now.” He further adds that; “If you’re in a homeless camp, it’s very difficult to wash your hands. It’s very difficult to stay clean. It’s very difficult to practice good hygiene.”