Americans' View of the Impact of COVID-19

Perspectives on Racial Impacts and Equity

Published in: Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (2021). doi: 10.1215/03616878-9156033

Posted on RAND.org on March 30, 2021

by Katherine Grace Carman, Anita Chandra, Carolyn Miller, Christopher Nelson, Jhacova Williams

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Context

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disparate effect on African Americans and Latino groups. But it is unknown how aware the public is of these differences, and how the pandemic has changed perceptions of equity and access to health care.

Methods

We use panel data from nationally representative surveys fielded to the same respondents in 2018 and 2020 to assess views and changes in views over time.

Findings

We found that awareness of inequity is highest among Non-Hispanic Black respondents and higher income and higher educated groups, and that there have been only small changes in perceptions of inequity over time. However, there have been significant changes in views of the government's obligation ensure access to health care.

Conclusions

Even in the face of a deadly pandemic, one that has killed disproportionately more African Americans and Latinos, many in the U.S. continue not to recognize that there are inequities in access to health care and the impact of COVID-19 on certain groups. But policies to address inequity may be shifting. We will continue to follow these respondents to see whether changes in attitudes endure over time or dissipate.

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