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July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, and this year, Econometrica is highlighting the intersection between minority mental health and housing stability.
Studies have shown that while housing security contributes to better health and economic stability, housing insecurity is often associated with increased stress and anxiety, exposure to environmental hazards, and lack of access to food and other resources. As a result, housing insecurity has been found to increase a person’s risk for many mental health issues, including depression, suicide, and behavioral issues.
There are also significant racial disparities in housing insecurity, with Black, Hispanic, and other minority households more likely to be housing insecure than White households. Many of the States with the highest rates of housing insecurity—including Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and New York—have large minority populations. These disparities have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, during which housing insecurity has risen more dramatically for minority renters than their White counterparts.
These disparities in housing insecurity likely contribute to disparities in mental health outcomes, as housing insecurity intensifies mental ailments among those who are most impacted. Econometrica welcomes any opportunity to assist HUD and other organizations that are supporting minority mental health through secure housing options.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges everyone ages 5 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. More than 543 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been given in the United States through February 7, 2022, according to CDC.
Despite the safety of the vaccines, misinformation remains a problem nationwide. CDC provides recommendations for providers on how to answer questions from parents and caregivers about COVID-19 vaccines. Providers remain the most trusted source of information about vaccines.
The U.S. Census Bureau has released the latest data collected through its Small Business Pulse Survey (SBPS), a multi-phasal effort which measures how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted small businesses across the country. The most recent phase of this study concluded on January 16, 2022.
Beginning in April 2020, SBPS measures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across a number of variables, including operating revenues and finances, employee retention and scheduling, changes in operations since March 2020, and measures implemented to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19 among employees, such as vaccination and testing requirements. Past surveys have asked about the implementation of curbside services, remote work, and loans and other assistance, among others. Impact is measured through self-reported metrics; the Phase 7 questionnaire can be found at https://portal.census.gov/pulse/data/downloads/small-business-pulse-survey-questionnaire_11_15_2021.pdf.
The Census Bureau has made the data collected across all seven phases of the study available on its website at https://portal.census.gov/pulse/data/, allowing for comparisons of responses over time. As of January 16, an average of 23.3 percent of businesses reported a large negative effect on business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a marked decrease from the original average of 51.4 percent reported the first week of the study (covering April 26 to May 2, 2020). SBPS has further tracked difficulties and delays with suppliers both domestic and foreign since August 2020, shining a light on current trends for businesses and potential pain points in the coming months.
Phase 8 of the survey is tentatively planned to begin in February 2022. Further information on the SBPS may be found at https://www.census.gov/data/experimental-data-products/small-business-pulse-survey.html.
BETHESDA, MD – A new website from the Federal Government allows Americans to order free COVID-19 tests.
COVIDTests.gov opened January 18 in what White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called a “beta phase,” with the formal launch set for January 19. The site will allow every household to order up to four free at-home COVID-19 tests.
“We can’t guarantee there won’t be a bug or two, but the best tech teams across the administration and the Postal Service are working hard to make this a success,” Psaki said.
The tests are part of the Biden administration’s purchase of 500 million tests last month to help tackle a record surge in infections. The site’s launch comes on the heals of changes to incentivize insurers and group health plans to allow people to easily obtain at-home tests.
Beginning January 15, insurance companies and group health plans are required to cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests. The new coverage requirement means most consumers with private health coverage can but a test online or at pharmacy or store and either get it paid for upfront by their health plan or get reimbursed for the cost by submitting a claim to their plan.
This new requirement allows individuals to purchase up to eight tests per month.
“Under President Biden’s leadership, we are requiring insurers and group health plans to make tests free for millions of Americans. This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp-up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost,” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “Since we took office, we have more than tripled the number of sites where people can get COVID-19 tests for free, and we’re also purchasing half a billion at-home, rapid tests to send for free to Americans who need them. By requiring private health plans to cover people’s at-home tests, we are further expanding Americans’ ability to get tests for free when they need them.”
PCR tests and rapid tests ordered or administered by a health provider will continue to be fully covered by insurance with no limit. Tests purchased through COVIDTests.gov will begin shipping toward the end of January.
Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers, and business development.
The tests are part of the Biden administration’s purchase of 500 million tests last month to help tackle a record surge in infections.