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Thinking About Health and Healthcare as the Pandemic Rages on

When the pandemic started back in March, at 7:00 sharp every night, my Brooklyn neighbors – and people all over the city and country – would cheer and bang pots and pans out their windows, thanking all the healthcare workers who we couldn’t thank in person. It seemed like in those early days, the bravery of those workers helped many of us during a time of unparalleled uncertainty. And maybe part of it was also an acknowledgment that our American heroes were forced to work in a system that has been for many Americans…a trying one, at best.

As the news around us continues to evolve, we’ve been collaborating with our colleagues at Zebra Strategies and Gazelle Global on periodic surveys to get a pulse on how Americans are reacting to current events. In a year where every week feels like a month, we’ve seen some interesting changes across our studies from April, June, and September.

Back in June, nearly two-thirds of Black (62%) and half of white (52%) Americans told us that the US healthcare system was going in the wrong direction. Three months later, we’ve seen those numbers creep up: 67% of Black and 55% of white Americans say our healthcare system is going in the wrong direction.

With a healthcare system we can’t count on, it’s no surprise that in our September survey over half of both Black (57%) and white (56%) Americans are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about their physical health, and fully half are concerned about their mental health.

This concern is even more pronounced among parents, who have consistently reported that they are having a really rough go of it this year. The majority of parents are concerned about their own physical (65% Black, 72% white) and mental (61% Black, 72% white) health.

And concerns about their kids’ health are even more pronounced: 69% of Black and 75% of white parents are worried about their kids’ mental health, and 72% of both Black and white parents are worried about their children’s physical health.

In short: Take care of each other out there. We’re all having a rough year, and we’re all we’ve got.

Jessica