COVID-19 Challenge (2021 Archive)
This page is a source of the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Rhode Island, the United States, and the world as a whole. It includes facts and statistics along with articles and documents of interest. The research is branched into multiple relevant topics that contribute to the overarching themes of poverty and social justice, as well as awareness. Please visit the links to learn more information or to help make a change. Remember that this page is an archive, therefore it contains information relating to COVID-19 only in 2021.
To visit the 2022 COVID-19 Challenge page, visit this link: 2022 COVID-19 CHALLENGE
by Gianni Diarbi
A Follow-Up Interview With Karen A. Santilli, Crossroads RI
Please note: This interview was conducted July 2021. To learn more about the mission of Crossroads Rhode Island and ways to get involved, visit the website or see the Summer 2020 interview below.
Q: In the last interview, I asked about the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on your work at Crossroads RI. With the widespread vaccination rollout, how have your work methods changed since then?
"At this point, we are still at reduced shelter capacity and our focus is on weekly testing and vaccination outreach. There is a wealth of misinformation amongst our shelter guests and congregate living residents; we are working hard to educate and encourage them to get vaccinated."
Q: With Covid-19 case numbers going down, please reflect on the effects that the pandemic had on the people you serve.
"While the numbers are going down, thankfully, we haven't yet felt the full economic impact of the pandemic. There is still a moratorium on utility shut-offs and evictions. These are two major causes of homelessness, particularly among families. We expect there to be increased in individuals and families coming to us for help when these moratoriums are lifted."
Q: Rhode Island is an expensive place to live in. How have the people at your organization worked to create affordable housing situations?
"Crossroads is a developer of housing specifically for people who have experienced homelessness and have very little or no income. We have substantial plans in place to build more permanent supportive housing for individuals and families that will significantly reduce the number of people in shelters and on the streets. We also have strong relationships with many landlords and negotiate on behalf of our clients for the rental rates to be lower."
Q: What is one lesson about homelessness that was revealed through the Covid-19 pandemic?
"Having a home really is health care and emergency shelter is not the answer. Having your own apartment/home is."
Q: What is one common misconception about poverty or homelessness that you can dispel?
"That people living in poverty or experiencing homelessness are at fault and to be blamed for their situations. There are so many factors and systemic issues that cause homelessness. Thank you for your interest in this issue and for educating yourself and others. The more people understand, the more likely they are to help or at least be empathetic to other humans."
Spring 2021 La Salle Update
FDA Approves the Pfizer Vaccine
Johnson & Johnson is the third major US company to produce COVID-19 vaccines, along with Pfizer and Moderna. Unlike the other two vaccines, it is a single-shot treatment and appears to be more effective in fighting against other COVID-19 variants.
Brown University requires students to be vaccinated.
Vaccine: Fast Facts
For regularly updated information about vaccine distribution, check out NPR's tracker below.
What You Should Know
What is a booster dose?
A booster is a dose administered to a previously vaccinated patient who intends to strengthen their immune system. Some people wonder if these booster shots will be required in association with the COVID-19 vaccines.
In April 2021, the Pfizer CEO said that it is possible that within one year of being fully vaccinated, one will probably need a third dose. This could potentially become a yearly treatment, such as the flu shot. However, recent research findings claim otherwise. In addition, many individuals have gotten their booster shots just five months after their 2nd dose.
One study has found that the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may not require a booster shot, assuming the variants of the vaccine do not evolve further than they currently have. However, the information from this finding has become outdated following Delta and Omicron surges.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine:
Researchers evaluated the safety and effectiveness of a booster regimen, specifically one that is mRNA based such as Pfizer or Moderna.
1. The Delta variant was previously the most contagious strain, only second to Omicron.
2. Unvaccinated people face further risks regarding the Delta variant as well as other strains.
3. The Delta variant may lead to 'hyperlocal outbreaks.' Because of the relatively high vaccination rates in the US, some are relaxed about this, however, the rapid spread could lead to undesirable outcomes.
4. There is still more to learn about Delta.
5. Vaccination is the best protection against Delta.
Students who are low-income, people of color, and/or disabled have already been disadvantaged by the education system. This is because of a lack of support and lowered funding for those needing personalized resources. The COVID-19 pandemic has only furthered this, as students without access to reliable internet connections and technology devices can not have the best quality of education possible. Even students with access to these things have suffered through online learning, citing things such as loneliness during lockdowns as sources for their lack of motivation and/or success. Because everything happened so quickly, many families were not able to prepare for distance learning. Additionally, many families live paycheck-to-paycheck and can not afford to purchase expensive equipment unexpectedly. This lack of proper education has lasting impacts on students, as lower grades can lead to a lack of motivation for students, poor mental health, and even trouble during the college admissions process. To handle these related issues is also expensive, meaning many students do not have a chance to fulfill their education or career goals.
"When I was asked to join the Mask Task Force, I was so excited about the opportunity. There's no denying that it is difficult to be homeless or live below the poverty line, and the pandemic has only made things worse. Masks and access to proper sanitization are essential to staying healthy and safe during these times, and everybody has a right to these. I am so grateful for the fact that I do not experience the pressure of going without. Each person on this team made amazing contributions using their individual skills, impacting the community. I am so proud of the work that Tianli, Tianyi (Peter), Mrs. Trissler, and I have done to better the community."
- Gianni Diarbi, '22
An Update on Booster Shots in the U.S.
Second Covid-19 Wave: Indonesia