On Monday, April 6, the Brookings Institution published a blog post cowritten and researched by Brinda Gupta, MBA ’20, on how COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities in St. Louis based on economic status and race. Brinda also works as a project manager for the Social Policy Institute at WashU.
Gupta shared how the coronavirus crisis has created further evidence that much of people’s health in St. Louis has less to do with genetic factors and more to do with the zip code in which they live. She wrote the article with WashU faculty member and Brookings nonresident senior fellow Michal Grinstein-Weiss.
Her research highlights the massive health imbalance between lower-income/African American communities and wealthier, predominantly white neighborhoods. Brinda explains that there is a 20-year life expectancy difference between the average person living in Clayton and in The Ville─two neighborhoods that sit a mere 7 miles apart.
Additionally, lower-wage workers are also more susceptible to contracting the virus as their workplace conditions are less likely to have the necessary sanitation resources. These settings, which often include workers performing their duties in close proximity, are also extremely difficult spaces to practice social distancing within.
“What makes the initial statistics about COVID-19 infections by zip code so alarming is that in the zip codes with the highest number of infections, people are actually less likely to get tested because of a lack of insurance or transportation, so the real number of cases might be even higher than is presently known.”Brinda Gupta
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rattle the world, Gupta’s research reminds St. Louis residents of the unequal conditions that are putting members of our community at a greater risk for infection. We truly don’t need a map to know who COVID-19 hits the hardest.