STUDENT ESSAY The Disproportional Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans
Volume 22/2, December 2020, pp 299-307
Maritza Vasquez Reyes
We all have been affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, the impact of the pandemic and its consequences are felt differently depending on our status as individuals and as members of society. While some try to adapt to working online, homeschooling their children and ordering food via Instacart, others have no choice but to be exposed to the virus while keeping society functioning. Our different social identities and the social groups we belong to determine our inclusion within society and, by extension, our vulnerability to epidemics.
COVID-19 is killing people on a large scale. As of October 10, 2020, more than 7.7 million people across every state in the United States and its four territories had tested positive for COVID-19. According to the New York Times database, at least 213,876 people with the virus have died in the United States.  However, these alarming numbers give us only half of the picture; a closer look at data by different social identities (such as class, gender, age, race, and medical history) shows that minorities have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. These minorities in the United States are not having their right to health fulfilled.
According to the World Health Organization’s report Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health , “poor and unequal living conditions are the consequences of deeper structural conditions that together fashion the way societies are organized—poor social policies and programs, unfair economic arrangements, and bad politics.”  This toxic combination of factors as they play out during this time of crisis, and as early news on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic pointed out, is disproportionately affecting African American communities in the United States. I recognize that the pandemic has had and is having devastating effects on other minorities as well, but space does not permit this essay to explore the impact on other minority groups.
Employing a human rights lens in this analysis helps us translate needs and social problems into rights, focusing our attention on the broader sociopolitical structural context as the cause of the social problems. Human rights highlight the inherent dignity and worth of all people, who are the primary rights-holders.  Governments (and other social actors, such as corporations) are the duty-bearers, and as such have the obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights.  Human rights cannot be separated from the societal contexts in which they are recognized, claimed, enforced, and fulfilled. Specifically, social rights, which include the right to health, can become important tools for advancing people’s citizenship and enhancing their ability to participate as active members of society.  Such an understanding of social rights calls our attention to the concept of equality, which requires that we place a greater emphasis on “solidarity” and the “collective.”  Furthermore, in order to generate equality, solidarity, and social integration, the fulfillment of social rights is not optional.  In order to fulfill social integration, social policies need to reflect a commitment to respect and protect the most vulnerable individuals and to create the conditions for the fulfillment of economic and social rights for all.
Disproportional impact of COVID-19 on African Americans
As noted by Samuel Dickman et al.:
economic inequality in the US has been increasing for decades and is now among the highest in developed countries … As economic inequality in the US has deepened, so too has inequality in health. Both overall and government health spending are higher in the US than in other countries, yet inadequate insurance coverage, high-cost sharing by patients, and geographical barriers restrict access to care for many. 
For instance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2018, 11.7% of African Americans in the United States had no health insurance, compared to 7.5% of whites. 
Prior to the Affordable Care Act—enacted into law in 2010—about 20% of African Americans were uninsured. This act helped lower the uninsured rate among nonelderly African Americans by more than one-third between 2013 and 2016, from 18.9% to 11.7%. However, even after the law’s passage, African Americans have higher uninsured rates than whites (7.5%) and Asian Americans (6.3%).  The uninsured are far more likely than the insured to forgo needed medical visits, tests, treatments, and medications because of cost.
As the COVID-19 virus made its way throughout the United States, testing kits were distributed equally among labs across the 50 states, without consideration of population density or actual needs for testing in those states. An opportunity to stop the spread of the virus during its early stages was missed, with serious consequences for many Americans. Although there is a dearth of race-disaggregated data on the number of people tested, the data that are available highlight African Americans’ overall lack of access to testing. For example, in Kansas, as of June 27, according to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, out of 94,780 tests, only 4,854 were from black Americans and 50,070 were from whites. However, blacks make up almost a third of the state’s COVID-19 deaths (59 of 208). And while in Illinois the total numbers of confirmed cases among blacks and whites were almost even, the test numbers show a different picture: 220,968 whites were tested, compared to only 78,650 blacks. 
Similarly, American Public Media reported on the COVID-19 mortality rate by race/ethnicity through July 21, 2020, including Washington, DC, and 45 states (see figure 1). These data, while showing an alarming death rate for all races, demonstrate how minorities are hit harder and how, among minority groups, the African American population in many states bears the brunt of the pandemic’s health impact.
Approximately 97.9 out of every 100,000 African Americans have died from COVID-19, a mortality rate that is a third higher than that for Latinos (64.7 per 100,000), and more than double than that for whites (46.6 per 100,000) and Asians (40.4 per 100,000). The overrepresentation of African Americans among confirmed COVID-19 cases and number of deaths underscores the fact that the coronavirus pandemic, far from being an equalizer, is amplifying or even worsening existing social inequalities tied to race, class, and access to the health care system.
Considering how African Americans and other minorities are overrepresented among those getting infected and dying from COVID-19, experts recommend that more testing be done in minority communities and that more medical services be provided.  Although the law requires insurers to cover testing for patients who go to their doctor’s office or who visit urgent care or emergency rooms, patients are fearful of ending up with a bill if their visit does not result in a COVID test. Furthermore, minority patients who lack insurance or are underinsured are less likely to be tested for COVID-19, even when experiencing alarming symptoms. These inequitable outcomes suggest the importance of increasing the number of testing centers and contact tracing in communities where African Americans and other minorities reside; providing testing beyond symptomatic individuals; ensuring that high-risk communities receive more health care workers; strengthening social provision programs to address the immediate needs of this population (such as food security, housing, and access to medicines); and providing financial protection for currently uninsured workers.
Social determinants of health and the pandemic’s impact on African Americans’ health outcomes
In international human rights law, the right to health is a claim to a set of social arrangements—norms, institutions, laws, and enabling environment—that can best secure the enjoyment of this right. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights sets out the core provision relating to the right to health under international law (article 12).  The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is the body responsible for interpreting the covenant.  In 2000, the committee adopted a general comment on the right to health recognizing that the right to health is closely related to and dependent on the realization of other human rights.  In addition, this general comment interprets the right to health as an inclusive right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to the determinants of health.  I will reflect on four determinants of health—racism and discrimination, poverty, residential segregation, and underlying medical conditions—that have a significant impact on the health outcomes of African Americans.
Racism and discrimination
In spite of growing interest in understanding the association between the social determinants of health and health outcomes, for a long time many academics, policy makers, elected officials, and others were reluctant to identify racism as one of the root causes of racial health inequities.  To date, many of the studies conducted to investigate the effect of racism on health have focused mainly on interpersonal racial and ethnic discrimination, with comparatively less emphasis on investigating the health outcomes of structural racism.  The latter involves interconnected institutions whose linkages are historically rooted and culturally reinforced.  In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, acts of discrimination are taking place in a variety of contexts (for example, social, political, and historical). In some ways, the pandemic has exposed existing racism and discrimination.
Poverty (low-wage jobs, insurance coverage, homelessness, and jails and prisons)
Data drawn from the 2018 Current Population Survey to assess the characteristics of low-income families by race and ethnicity shows that of the 7.5 million low-income families with children in the United States, 20.8% were black or African American (while their percentage of the population in 2018 was only 13.4%).  Low-income racial and ethnic minorities tend to live in densely populated areas and multigenerational households. These living conditions make it difficult for low-income families to take necessary precautions for their safety and the safety of their loved ones on a regular basis.  This fact becomes even more crucial during a pandemic.
Low-wage jobs: The types of work where people in some racial and ethnic groups are overrepresented can also contribute to their risk of getting sick with COVID-19. Nearly 40% of African American workers, more than seven million, are low-wage workers and have jobs that deny them even a single paid sick day. Workers without paid sick leave might be more likely to continue to work even when they are sick.  This can increase workers’ exposure to other workers who may be infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control has noted that many African Americans who hold low-wage but essential jobs (such as food service, public transit, and health care) are required to continue to interact with the public, despite outbreaks in their communities, which exposes them to higher risks of COVID-19 infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly a quarter of employed Hispanic and black or African American workers are employed in service industry jobs, compared to 16% of non-Hispanic whites. Blacks or African Americans make up 12% of all employed workers but account for 30% of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, who face significant exposure to the coronavirus. 
In 2018, 45% of low-wage workers relied on an employer for health insurance. This situation forces low-wage workers to continue to go to work even when they are not feeling well. Some employers allow their workers to be absent only when they test positive for COVID-19. Given the way the virus spreads, by the time a person knows they are infected, they have likely already infected many others in close contact with them both at home and at work. 
Homelessness : Staying home is not an option for the homeless. African Americans, despite making up just 13% of the US population, account for about 40% of the nation’s homeless population, according to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.  Given that people experiencing homelessness often live in close quarters, have compromised immune systems, and are aging, they are exceptionally vulnerable to communicable diseases—including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Jails and prisons : Nearly 2.2 million people are in US jails and prisons, the highest rate in the world. According to the US Bureau of Justice, in 2018, the imprisonment rate among black men was 5.8 times that of white men, while the imprisonment rate among black women was 1.8 times the rate among white women.  This overrepresentation of African Americans in US jails and prisons is another indicator of the social and economic inequality affecting this population.
According to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ General Comment 14, “states are under the obligation to respect the right to health by, inter alia , refraining from denying or limiting equal access for all persons—including prisoners or detainees, minorities, asylum seekers and illegal immigrants—to preventive, curative, and palliative health services.”  Moreover, “states have an obligation to ensure medical care for prisoners at least equivalent to that available to the general population.”  However, there has been a very limited response to preventing transmission of the virus within detention facilities, which cannot achieve the physical distancing needed to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
Segregation affects people’s access to healthy foods and green space. It can also increase excess exposure to pollution and environmental hazards, which in turn increases the risk for diabetes and heart and kidney diseases.  African Americans living in impoverished, segregated neighborhoods may live farther away from grocery stores, hospitals, and other medical facilities.  These and other social and economic inequalities, more so than any genetic or biological predisposition, have also led to higher rates of African Americans contracting the coronavirus. To this effect, sociologist Robert Sampson states that the coronavirus is exposing class and race-based vulnerabilities. He refers to this factor as “toxic inequality,” especially the clustering of COVID-19 cases by community, and reminds us that African Americans, even if they are at the same level of income or poverty as white Americans or Latino Americans, are much more likely to live in neighborhoods that have concentrated poverty, polluted environments, lead exposure, higher rates of incarceration, and higher rates of violence. 
Many of these factors lead to long-term health consequences. The pandemic is concentrating in urban areas with high population density, which are, for the most part, neighborhoods where marginalized and minority individuals live. In times of COVID-19, these concentrations place a high burden on the residents and on already stressed hospitals in these regions. Strategies most recommended to control the spread of COVID-19—social distancing and frequent hand washing—are not always practical for those who are incarcerated or for the millions who live in highly dense communities with precarious or insecure housing, poor sanitation, and limited access to clean water.
Underlying health conditions
African Americans have historically been disproportionately diagnosed with chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension and diabetes—underlying conditions that may make COVID-19 more lethal. Perhaps there has never been a pandemic that has brought these disparities so vividly into focus.
Doctor Anthony Fauci, an immunologist who has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has noted that “it is not that [African Americans] are getting infected more often. It’s that when they do get infected, their underlying medical conditions … wind them up in the ICU and ultimately give them a higher death rate.” 
One of the highest risk factors for COVID-19-related death among African Americans is hypertension. A recent study by Khansa Ahmad et al. analyzed the correlation between poverty and cardiovascular diseases, an indicator of why so many black lives are lost in the current health crisis. The authors note that the American health care system has not yet been able to address the higher propensity of lower socioeconomic classes to suffer from cardiovascular disease.  Besides having higher prevalence of chronic conditions compared to whites, African Americans experience higher death rates. These trends existed prior to COVID-19, but this pandemic has made them more visible and worrisome.
Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on African Americans: A human rights-based approach
The racially disparate death rate and socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the discriminatory enforcement of pandemic-related restrictions stand in stark contrast to the United States’ commitment to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. In 1965, the United States signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which it ratified in 1994. Article 2 of the convention contains fundamental obligations of state parties, which are further elaborated in articles 5, 6, and 7.  Article 2 of the convention stipulates that “each State Party shall take effective measures to review governmental, national and local policies, and to amend, rescind or nullify any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination wherever it exists” and that “each State Party shall prohibit and bring to an end, by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, racial discrimination by any persons, group or organization.” 
Perhaps this crisis will not only greatly affect the health of our most vulnerable community members but also focus public attention on their rights and safety—or lack thereof. Disparate COVID-19 mortality rates among the African American population reflect longstanding inequalities rooted in systemic and pervasive problems in the United States (for example, racism and the inadequacy of the country’s health care system). As noted by Audrey Chapman, “the purpose of a human right is to frame public policies and private behaviors so as to protect and promote the human dignity and welfare of all members and groups within society, particularly those who are vulnerable and poor, and to effectively implement them.”  A deeper awareness of inequity and the role of social determinants demonstrates the importance of using right to health paradigms in response to the pandemic.
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has proposed some guidelines regarding states’ obligation to fulfill economic and social rights: availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality. These four interrelated elements are essential to the right to health. They serve as a framework to evaluate states’ performance in relation to their obligation to fulfill these rights. In the context of this pandemic, it is worthwhile to raise the following questions: What can governments and nonstate actors do to avoid further marginalizing or stigmatizing this and other vulnerable populations? How can health justice and human rights-based approaches ground an effective response to the pandemic now and build a better world afterward? What can be done to ensure that responses to COVID-19 are respectful of the rights of African Americans? These questions demand targeted responses not just in treatment but also in prevention. The following are just some initial reflections:
First, we need to keep in mind that treating people with respect and human dignity is a fundamental obligation, and the first step in a health crisis. This includes the recognition of the inherent dignity of people, the right to self-determination, and equality for all individuals. A commitment to cure and prevent COVID-19 infections must be accompanied by a renewed commitment to restore justice and equity.
Second, we need to strike a balance between mitigation strategies and the protection of civil liberties, without destroying the economy and material supports of society, especially as they relate to minorities and vulnerable populations. As stated in the Siracusa Principles, “[state restrictions] are only justified when they support a legitimate aim and are: provided for by law, strictly necessary, proportionate, of limited duration, and subject to review against abusive applications.”  Therefore, decisions about individual and collective isolation and quarantine must follow standards of fair and equal treatment and avoid stigma and discrimination against individuals or groups. Vulnerable populations require direct consideration with regard to the development of policies that can also protect and secure their inalienable rights.
Third, long-term solutions require properly identifying and addressing the underlying obstacles to the fulfillment of the right to health, particularly as they affect the most vulnerable. For example, we need to design policies aimed at providing universal health coverage, paid family leave, and sick leave. We need to reduce food insecurity, provide housing, and ensure that our actions protect the climate. Moreover, we need to strengthen mental health and substance abuse services, since this pandemic is affecting people’s mental health and exacerbating ongoing issues with mental health and chemical dependency. As noted earlier, violations of the human rights principles of equality and nondiscrimination were already present in US society prior to the pandemic. However, the pandemic has caused “an unprecedented combination of adversities which presents a serious threat to the mental health of entire populations, and especially to groups in vulnerable situations.”  As Dainius Pūras has noted, “the best way to promote good mental health is to invest in protective environments in all settings.”  These actions should take place as we engage in thoughtful conversations that allow us to assess the situation, to plan and implement necessary interventions, and to evaluate their effectiveness.
Finally, it is important that we collect meaningful, systematic, and disaggregated data by race, age, gender, and class. Such data are useful not only for promoting public trust but for understanding the full impact of this pandemic and how different systems of inequality intersect, affecting the lived experiences of minority groups and beyond. It is also important that such data be made widely available, so as to enhance public awareness of the problem and inform interventions and public policies.
In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhuman.”  More than 54 years later, African Americans still suffer from injustices that are at the basis of income and health disparities. We know from previous experiences that epidemics place increased demands on scarce resources and enormous stress on social and economic systems.
A deeper understanding of the social determinants of health in the context of the current crisis, and of the role that these factors play in mediating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African Americans’ health outcomes, increases our awareness of the indivisibility of all human rights and the collective dimension of the right to health. We need a more explicit equity agenda that encompasses both formal and substantive equality.  Besides nondiscrimination and equality, participation and accountability are equally crucial.
Unfortunately, as suggested by the limited available data, African American communities and other minorities in the United States are bearing the brunt of the current pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has served to unmask higher vulnerabilities and exposure among people of color. A thorough reflection on how to close this gap needs to start immediately. Given that the COVID-19 pandemic is more than just a health crisis—it is disrupting and affecting every aspect of life (including family life, education, finances, and agricultural production)—it requires a multisectoral approach. We need to build stronger partnerships among the health care sector and other social and economic sectors. Working collaboratively to address the many interconnected issues that have emerged or become visible during this pandemic—particularly as they affect marginalized and vulnerable populations—offers a more effective strategy.
Moreover, as Delan Devakumar et al. have noted:
the strength of a healthcare system is inseparable from broader social systems that surround it. Health protection relies not only on a well-functioning health system with universal coverage, which the US could highly benefit from, but also on social inclusion, justice, and solidarity. In the absence of these factors, inequalities are magnified and scapegoating persists, with discrimination remaining long after. 
This current public health crisis demonstrates that we are all interconnected and that our well-being is contingent on that of others. A renewed and healthy society is possible only if governments and public authorities commit to reducing vulnerability and the impact of ill-health by taking steps to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to health.  It requires that government and nongovernment actors establish policies and programs that promote the right to health in practice.  It calls for a shared commitment to justice and equality for all.
Maritza Vasquez Reyes, MA, LCSW, CCM, is a PhD student and Research and Teaching Assistant at the UConn School of Social Work, University of Connecticut, Hartford, USA.
Please address correspondence to the author. Email: [email protected].
Competing interests: None declared.
Copyright © 2020 Vasquez Reyes. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
 “Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest map and case count,” New York Times (October 10, 2020). Available at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html.
 World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health (Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008), p. 1.
 S. Hertel and L. Minkler, Economic rights: Conceptual, measurement, and policy issues (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); S. Hertel and K. Libal, Human rights in the United States: Beyond exceptionalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011); D. Forsythe, Human rights in international relations , 2nd edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
 Danish Institute for Human Rights, National action plans on business and human rights (Copenhagen: Danish Institute for Human Rights, 2014).
 J. R. Blau and A. Moncada, Human rights: Beyond the liberal vision (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005).
 J. R. Blau. “Human rights: What the United States might learn from the rest of the world and, yes, from American sociology,” Sociological Forum 31/4 (2016), pp. 1126–1139; K. G. Young and A. Sen, The future of economic and social rights (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2019).
 Young and Sen (see note 6).
 S. Dickman, D. Himmelstein, and S. Woolhandler, “Inequality and the health-care system in the USA,” Lancet , 389/10077 (2017), p. 1431.
 S. Artega, K. Orgera, and A. Damico, “Changes in health insurance coverage and health status by race and ethnicity, 2010–2018 since the ACA,” KFF (March 5, 2020). Available at https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/changes-in-health-coverage-by-race-and-ethnicity-since-the-aca-2010-2018/.
 H. Sohn, “Racial and ethnic disparities in health insurance coverage: Dynamics of gaining and losing coverage over the life-course,” Population Research and Policy Review 36/2 (2017), pp. 181–201.
 Atlantic Monthly Group, COVID tracking project . Available at https://covidtracking.com .
 “Why the African American community is being hit hard by COVID-19,” Healthline (April 13, 2020). Available at https://www.healthline.com/health-news/covid-19-affecting-people-of-color#What-can-be-done?.
 World Health Organization, 25 questions and answers on health and human rights (Albany: World Health Organization, 2002).
 Ibid; Hertel and Libal (see note 3).
 Z. Bailey, N. Krieger, M. Agénor et al., “Structural racism and health inequities in the USA: Evidence and interventions,” Lancet 389/10077 (2017), pp. 1453–1463.
 US Census. Available at https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2019/demo/p60-266.html.
 M. Simms, K. Fortuny, and E. Henderson, Racial and ethnic disparities among low-income families (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Publications, 2009).
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups (2020). Available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html.
 Artega et al. (see note 9).
 K. Allen, “More than 50% of homeless families are black, government report finds,” ABC News (January 22, 2020). Available at https://abcnews.go.com/US/50-homeless-families-black-government-report-finds/story?id=68433643.
 A. Carson, Prisoners in 2018 (US Department of Justice, 2020). Available at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p18.pdf.
 United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 14, The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, UN Doc. E/C.12/2000/4 (2000).
 J. J. Amon, “COVID-19 and detention,” Health and Human Rights 22/1 (2020), pp. 367–370.
 L. Pirtle and N. Whitney, “Racial capitalism: A fundamental cause of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic inequities in the United States,” Health Education and Behavior 47/4 (2020), pp. 504–508.
 Ibid; R. Sampson, “The neighborhood context of well-being,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 46/3 (2003), pp. S53–S64.
 C. Walsh, “Covid-19 targets communities of color,” Harvard Gazette (April 14, 2020). Available at https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/04/health-care-disparities-in-the-age-of-coronavirus/.
 B. Lovelace Jr., “White House officials worry the coronavirus is hitting African Americans worse than others,” CNBC News (April 7, 2020). Available at https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/07/white-house-officials-worry-the-coronavirus-is-hitting-african-americans-worse-than-others.html.
 K. Ahmad, E. W. Chen, U. Nazir, et al., “Regional variation in the association of poverty and heart failure mortality in the 3135 counties of the United States,” Journal of the American Heart Association 8/18 (2019).
 D. Desierto, “We can’t breathe: UN OHCHR experts issue joint statement and call for reparations” (EJIL Talk), Blog of the European Journal of International Law (June 5, 2020). Available at https://www.ejiltalk.org/we-cant-breathe-un-ohchr-experts-issue-joint-statement-and-call-for-reparations/.
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 A. Chapman, Global health, human rights and the challenge of neoliberal policies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. 17.
 N. Sun, “Applying Siracusa: A call for a general comment on public health emergencies,” Health and Human Rights Journal (April 23, 2020).
 D. Pūras, “COVID-19 and mental health: Challenges ahead demand changes,” Health and Human Rights Journal (May 14, 2020).
 M. Luther King Jr, “Presentation at the Second National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights,” Chicago, March 25, 1966.
 Chapman (see note 35).
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 World Health Organization (see note 12).
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- Essays on the Post-COVID-19 World
How will/should the world change? The corona crisis as an interdisciplinary challenge
by Véronique Zanetti (ZiF Bielefeld, Germany), G. Ary Plons ki (UBIAS, IEA São Paulo, Brazil) and Britta Padberg (ZiF Bielefeld, Germany) | Originally posted on the blog Interdisciplinarity
Heavily shaken by the corona pandemics many of us are currently thinking about how we could contribute to overcome this unprecedented situation. The COVID-19 crisis not only challenges disease control and crisis management, but may also have long-term and far-reaching impacts on states, societies and international cooperation. There are increasing indications that the world will look different after the crisis and that globalization will be questioned in many areas. According to these observations, the COVID-19 crisis would mark a turning point. In times of deep uncertainty, science is asked to look to the future and to flank a rational discourse about how to react to the current global crisis, and therefore now better cope with other tantamount global challenges such as the climate change.
Since this challenge is genuinely interdisciplinary, Institutes for Advanced Studies are rich pools to fish for visionary ideas and scientific observations. We are very happy that a number of distinguished and young scholars from different fields and countries agreed to write short essays on how the world will change and how it should change. The pieces will be posted bit by bit, two texts per week. Since science and art make a good couple in developing a good sensorium for tectonic shifts we also asked the comic artist Oliver Grajewski to complement and contrast the academic way of thinking. He will deliver one short comic series each week.
We hope that the blog will contribute to sketching out ideas of a world that is more sustainable, fairer and fit for the future and are very much looking forward to lively discussions.
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Essay on Coronavirus Prevention
500+ Words Essay on Coronavirus Prevention
The best way of coronavirus prevention is not getting it in the first place. After extensive research, there are now COVID-19 vaccines available to the public. Everyone must consider getting it to lead healthy lives. Further, we will look at some ways in this essay in how one can lower their chances of getting the virus or stopping it from spreading.
The Spread of Coronavirus
The COVID-19 virus spreads mainly via droplets that are sent out by people while talking, sneezing, or coughing. However, they do not generally stay in the air for long. Similarly, they cannot go farther than 6 feet.
However, this virus can also travel via tiny aerosol particles that have the capacity to linger for around three hours. Likewise, they may also travel farther away. Therefore, it is essential to wear a face covering.
The face mask can prevent you from getting the virus as it helps you to avoid breathing it in. Further, one can also catch this virus if they touch something that an infected person has touched and then they touch their eyes, mouth, or nose.
Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas
How to Prevent Coronavirus
The first and foremost thing for coronavirus prevention is that everyone must do is get the vaccine as soon as it is their turn. It helps you avoid the virus or prevent you from falling seriously ill. Apart from this, we must not forget to take other steps as well to reduce the risk of getting the virus.
It includes avoiding close contact with people who are sick or are showing symptoms. Make sure you are at least 6 feet away from them. Similarly, you also remain at the same distance as others if you have contracted the virus.
What’s important to know is that you may have COVID-19 and spread it to others even if you are not showing any symptoms or aren’t aware that you have COVID-19. Moreover, we must avoid crowds and indoor places that are not well-ventilated.
Most importantly, keep washing your hands frequently with soap and water. If these are not present, carry an alcohol-based sanitiser with you. It must have a minimum amount of 60% alcohol.
In addition, wearing a face mask is of utmost importance in public spaces. Such places come with a higher risk of transmission of the virus. Thus, use surgical masks if they are available.
It is important to cover your mouth and nose when you are coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cover it with your elbow. Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Likewise, do not share dishes, towels, glasses and other household items with a sick person.
Do not forget to clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch frequently like electronics, switchboards, counters, doorknobs, and more. Also, stay at home if you feel sick and do not take public transport as well.
To sum it up, coronavirus prevention can be done easily. We must work together to create a safe environment for everyone to live healthily. Make sure to do your bit so that everyone can stay safe and fit and things may return to normal like before.
FAQ of Essay on Coronavirus Prevention
Question 1: How long does it take for coronavirus symptoms to appear?
Answer 1: It may take around five to six days on average when someone gets infected with the virus. But, some people also take around 14 days.
Question 2: What are some coronavirus prevention tips?
Answer 2: One must get the vaccine as soon as possible. Further, always wear a mask properly and sanitize or wash your hands. Clean or disinfect areas that people touch frequently like door handles, electronics, and more. Always cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing and maintain physical distancing.
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COVID-19 Essay in English
Table of Contents
COVID-19 Essay: The Covid-19 pandemic has been a global health crisis that has impacted the entire world. This viral infection touched nearly everyone in some manner. However, the impact varied base on different factors. because it’s a virus, it can change over time, leading to new variants. The virus has altered the people live. It also had significant effect on education, the global economy etc. Painfully., many people lost their lives, jobs, and loved ones due to this situation.
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COVID -19 Essay in 100 Words
COVID-19, also known as the Corona Virus, is a new kind of germ that we found in 2019. It’s like germs we’ve seen before, like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, but it spreads very easily and makes people sicker. This corona virus quickly spread all over the world, and it became a big problem. Corona virus hurt people’s health, jobs, and how we live together. Governments did big things to stop it, like telling people to stay home and wear masks and use sanitizer. COVID-19 messed up everything from our health to our money and how we get along with each other. It’s been more than 2 years, and we’re still trying to fix all the problems it caused.
COVID -19 Essay in 150 Words
The coronavirus, which we know as covid-19, is a contagious illness that started spreading widely in 2019. It primarily affects our ability to breathe by weakening the respiratory system. This virus was first recognize in Wuhan, China, in 2019, and it quickly spread all over the world. By March 2019, it has spread so many countries then the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic.
The corona virus spreads when transmit infection to person coughs, sneezes, or through other close contact. This led to isolating people who were infected, even from their own families. People with Covid-19 experienced various symptoms like tiredness, a sore throat, stiff muscles, and losing their sense of taste and smell. Unfortunately, many people lost their lives due to this serious infection could become stronger day by day. One of the major challenges during the pandemic was the shortage of oxygen, which is crucial for treating severe cases.
COVID -19 Essay in 200 Words
Ever since COVID-19 started spreading, it has affected the world in several ways. Many businesses had to close because of the corona virus. This caused a lot of people to lose their jobs, and more people became poor around the world. Also, countries had to make strict rules about traveling to stop the corona virus from spreading. Because of this, fewer people were able to travel or trade with other countries.
The covid-19 made it very hard for hospitals because so many people got sick. They had too many patients to take care of. Lastly, because of COVID-19, many people felt worried and unsure about the future because they were scared of getting sick.
My Experience of Covid-19
As for my experience, I remember when schools closed in March 2020. I was student, and I thought everything would be back to normal soon. But no i was totally wrong. Every day, the situation got worse, and the government has to make strict rules to keep us safe. We has to wear face masks when we go out for our essential things. Schools are closed it’s impact on students . Restaurants and stores could only do takeout, and many businesses had to close.
COVID -19 Essay in 500 Words
COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is a contagious illness that affects the human respiratory system. The term COVID-19 stands for “Novel Corona virus Disease 2019.” This corona virus has significantly impacted our daily lives and has become a global pandemic, affecting millions of people, either through illness or sadly, even death due to its rapid spread.
COVID-19 is a new virus that is causing problems worldwide because it spreads mainly when people come into close contact with one another, typically within 6 feet. As a result, many countries have reduced their production of goods.
COVID -19 Symptoms and Origin
The typical signs of this viral illness include having a fever, a cold, coughing, feeling pain in your bones, and having trouble with your breathing. Besides these, people with the Coronavirus might also feel very tired, have a sore throat, experience muscle pain, or lose their ability to smell or taste things.
Symptoms of COVID-19
Many people are concerned about the coronavirus and its symptoms. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), you might have coronavirus if you have signs like these.
- Breathing Problem
- Loss of Smell and taste to
- Sore throat
Prevention of COVID-19
Preventing COVID-19 involves taking important precautions like maintaining good hygiene, regularly washing hands with soap or hand sanitizer, avoiding close contact with others, keeping a safe distance, and wearing a mask when needed.
Origin of COVID 19
The COVID-19 outbreak was initially reported in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, China. Later, in March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic.
COVID 19 Effects in India
In India, all schools and many businesses had to close. People couldn’t travel between countries or even within states. India stopped release tourist visas because most of the sick people came from other countries.
Lots of workers go back to their hometowns to with their families. Workers look over many problems because the factories and offices where they worked had to close. They didn’t have jobs thosedays, and it was hard to find enough food.
Many industries and society were affected by this virus. This includes the companies that make medicines, the electricity sector, schools and colleges, and the tourism industry. This Coronavirus had a big impact on how people lived their daily lives and also affected the whole world’s economy.
COVID -19 Essay FAQs
What is the coronavirus short paragraph.
Coronavirus is a tiny germ that can make people sick. It spreads easily, so it's important to stay safe.
What is the corona virus?
The coronavirus is a very small germ that can make people ill, and it's important to protect ourselves from it.
What is a few words about COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a sickness caused by the coronavirus. It can make people very sick, so we need to be careful.
What is COVID brief introduction?
COVID is a disease caused by a tiny germ called the coronavirus, and we need to take precautions to stay healthy.
What is the short paragraph of COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a small germ called the coronavirus. It can spread easily, so we should be cautious.
COVID-19 is an illness caused by the coronavirus. Being cautious and taking preventive measures is essential to stay safe.
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- Understanding the US...
Understanding the US failure on coronavirus—an essay by Drew Altman
Read our latest coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
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- Drew Altman , president and CEO
- Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, San Francisco, CA
The world has been staggered by the US’s disjointed response to covid-19, resulting in by far the highest case and death count globally. The die was cast by two fundamental policy decisions taken by the Trump administration, writes Drew Altman
On 9 August, the US passed the five million mark in cases of covid-19, representing slightly more than a quarter of all global cases. That day, more than half the states in the US qualified as coronavirus hot spots. 1
The same day in South Dakota, the small town of Sturgis with a population of less than 7000 prepared to welcome 250 000 bikers to its annual biker rally. With no social distancing or face masks required by that mostly conservative rural state, it would be the largest known public gathering in the world in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic.
At the same time, 40 million Californians were living with that state’s mandatory mask order imposed by the governor when the state’s decision to open up its economy led to a resurgence in covid-19 infections.
In Georgia, the Republican governor and the Democratic mayor of Atlanta continued to spar over the mayor’s desire to take more stringent measures to protect public health than the governor, a Trump loyalist, wanted to allow. Similar tensions between Democratic mayors and pro-Trump Republican governors were playing out in Texas and Florida, two large states where cases of the virus were increasing.
In New York, where the state had come through the worst epidemic in the US after deploying strict public health measures, the infection rate was low enough that the governor, whose daily press conferences had become national television events, announced he was ready to open schools.
And so goes the American response to covid-19: a patchwork of responses by state and local governments, divided sharply along partisan lines.
Our lamentable performance is not the product of a famously fragmented, market driven healthcare system. The US medical system has in many ways performed well and even valiantly, increasing capacity when needed, and saving lives when possible. Uninsured people and working people are faced with much higher out-of-pocket costs and surprise costs than they are in other countries, but our deaths per case of covid-19 compare favourably with other developed nations that have significant numbers of cases. 2 We celebrate our heroic frontline workers with cheers and applause just as other countries do.
No, the disappointing US response to covid-19 has been because of a failure of policy and leadership, not healthcare, and largely owing to two fateful policy decisions.
The federal government as back-up
After first casting himself as a wartime president, in April President Trump made a fundamental policy shift that has shaped the US response to the pandemic ever since. He announced that states would have primary responsibility for containing the virus, with the federal government in a “back-up” role. 3
A state role in public health is traditional in the US, and any national plan would allow for customisation to reflect regional and state circumstances. Delegating primary responsibility to states in a crisis is unprecedented. It was, as far as I know, the first time a sitting US president has sought to decentralise authority and responsibility during a national crisis.
The motivation for the policy shift was never clearly articulated. While consistent with conservative principles to let state and local governments customise solutions to local circumstances, it may also have been an effort, however futile in retrospect, to offload political accountability for a growing pandemic with the presidential election looming.
As a former state commissioner of human services experienced in the vagaries of state government, I felt at the time that the consequences were predictable. On 5 April, I tweeted 4 :
“This is the result when you leave it to states to decide what to do on their own with the federal government as “back-up.” Pacesetters, a muddled middle, and laggards, often in the South. The consequences this time may be tragic.”
In practice the ramifications were even more complex, with states, counties, and cities all filling the vacuum created by the lack of an overall national response.
The US has 3141 counties. Some are rural with no health departments; others are as large as states and have health directors with strong independent authority to implement public health measures, such as stay-at-home orders. Three hundred cities in the US have populations of 100 000 or more. In some jurisdictions, county and city authorities overlap. A city may deliver health services and a county may control public health. A school system may operate independently of both. Virtually every combination exists across the country.
In the absence of a centralised federal response, this fragmentation resulted in extreme variation in our national response to covid-19 by and within states. For example, at the time of writing, 33 states had instituted mandatory mask orders, while other states imposed softer orders or none at all. 5
This variation had significant public health consequences. Some states opened up their economies earlier than others—and, in general, the states that opened up their economies earlier suffered larger outbreaks. 6
This led directly to the second fateful policy decision shaping the US response: the Trump administration’s decision to push for an opening up of the economy before the virus was contained—and the fracturing of the country along partisan lines in response.
A starkly partisan pandemic response
Initially, the White House sought to impose so called “gating criteria” to be met by states before they opened up. 7 These guidelines could have imposed greater discipline on the fragmented response of state and local government. But the criteria were abandoned with the president pushing initially for opening up as early as Easter, then moving that timetable back in the face of pandemic reality.
The response has been the defining and most troubling characteristic of the American response to the pandemic: the states and the American people split strikingly along partisan lines in their response to covid-19, as if the country has both red and blue pandemics. When that happened, the public’s willingness to prevent the spread of the virus substantially collapsed across red America.
The partisan divide can be seen on almost every dimension of the epidemic. Democrats are about twice as likely as Republicans to say the worst is still yet to come on the pandemic in the US ( fig 1 ), 8 and a wide gulf has opened between Democrats and Republicans in the debate around opening schools. 9
Democrats twice as likely as Republicans to say worst of coronavirus is yet to come. Source: KFF health tracking poll (conducted July 14-19 2020)
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Strikingly, in a late August poll CBS and YouGov found that 90% of Democrats said the number of coronavirus deaths in the US was unacceptable. But a majority (57%) of Republicans said it was acceptable, in part because they believe the death count has been exaggerated. 10 It is an open question whether attitudes and behaviour will change as the virus spreads through red and rural America.
Not too late
Other reasons account for the poor performance in the US. The historic neglect and underfunding of our state and local public health system have also contributed to the weak US response. 11 And our country’s public health system also operates independently of our healthcare system, which does not help.
Overall, however, the US response to the pandemic has much more to do with fundamental policy decisions made—and not made—in the White House than the nature of our much debated health system.
The distribution of a vaccine in the US may well be built on a similar state by state architecture, allowing for customisation but also substantial variation in performance, depending on the degree of oversight exercised by federal public health agencies.
The decentralised structure of the US response could have worked more effectively had the role of the federal government as “back-up” been buttressed by a national plan overlaying state responses and more fulsome federal support for testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment, school reopening, and other elements of the response that require a national policy and resources targeted to state and local conditions.
The US coronavirus failure was not inevitable and does not have to be permanent. But it is historically aberrant for our federal government to follow and not lead in a national crisis, and equally unusual for our country to divide rather than unify in a time of crisis. This too is the product of the policy decisions that have been made and can be altered or unmade by the current or a future administration.
Drew Altman is president and CEO of the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). He is an innovator in the world of foundations and non-profit organisations and a leading expert on national health policy who publishes and speaks widely on health issues.
He founded the present day KFF in the early 1990s. He is also founding publisher of KFF’s Kaiser Health News , the largest health newsroom in the US, distributing coverage of health issues through major news outlets across the country.
He was commissioner of the Department of Human Services for the state of New Jersey, director of health and human services at the Pew Charitable Trusts, vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and served in the Carter administration. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on numerous advisory committees.
Drew Altman earned his PhD in political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed his post-doctoral work at Harvard University before moving on to public service. He holds an honorary doctorate from the Morehouse School of Medicine.
Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.
Competing interests The BMJ has judged that there are no disqualifying financial ties to commercial companies. The author declares the following other interests: none.
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.
- ↵ Kates J, Tolbert J, Orgera K, Michaud J, Levitt L. Where are the COVID-19 Hotspots? Tracking State Outbreaks. KFF. 2020. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/where-are-the-covid-19-hotspots-tracking-state-outbreaks/
- ↵ Craig J. Charts: how the US ranks on covid-19 deaths per capita—and by case count. Goats and Soda . 2020. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/08/05/899365887/charts-how-the-u-s-ranks-on-covid-19-deaths-per-capita-and-by-case-count?t=1599118732041
- ↵ Yen H, Woodward C. AP fact check: Trump, ‘wartime’ pandemic leader or ‘backup’? AP 2020. https://apnews.com/a64cf7fd5095d4d3b002dc4830e32119
- ↵ Altman D. Twitter. 2020. https://twitter.com/DrewAltman/status/1246817341846896645
- ↵ KFF. State actions to mitigate the spread of covid-19. 2020. https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/state-actions-to-mitigate-the-spread-of-covid-19/
- ↵ Leonhardt D. The unique US failure to control the virus. New York Times 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/06/us/coronavirus-us.html
- ↵ White House. Guidelines: opening up America again. 2020. https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/
- ↵ Hamel L, Kearney A, Kirzinger A, Lopes L, Muñana C, Brodie M. KFF health tracking poll–July 2020. 2020. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/report/kff-health-tracking-poll-july-2020/
- ↵ Menasce Horowitz J. Republicans, Democrats differ over factors K-12 schools should consider in deciding whether to reopen. Pew Research Center. 2020. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/08/05/republicans-democrats-differ-over-factors-k-12-schools-should-consider-in-deciding-whether-to-reopen/
- ↵ Salvanto A, de Pinto J, Backus F, Khanna K, Cox E. Republicans see US as better off now than four years ago ahead of convention—Battleground Tracker poll. CBS News 2020. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/republicans-economy-coronavirus-opinion-poll-cbs-news-battleground-tracker/
- ↵ Weber L, Ungar L, Smith MR, Recht H, Barry-Jester AM. Hollowed-out public health system faces more cuts amid virus. Kaiser Health News 2020. https://khn.org/news/us-public-health-system-underfunded-under-threat-faces-more-cuts-amid-covid-pandemic/
How to Write About Coronavirus / COVID-19 In Your College Essay & Application
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Option 2: the slightly more creative way, how to use narrative structure to describe your pandemic experience if you want it to be all of your essay, should i write about coronavirus/ covid-19 in my college essay.
This year, the Common App is including a special 250-word section allowing students to describe the impacts of COVID-19 on their lives. Here’s the official word from the Common App website:
We want to provide colleges with the information they need, with the goal of having students answer COVID-19 questions only once while using the rest of the application as they would have before to share their interests and perspectives beyond COVID-19.
Below is the question applicants will see:
Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces.
Do you wish to share anything on this topic? Y/N
Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.
The question will be optional and will appear in the Additional Information section of the application. The response length will be limited to 250 words.
It’s worth reading from the Common App website directly , which also notes that counselors will have 500 words to detail impacts that their schools have experienced based on the pandemic.
Note: If you’re applying via the Coalition Application, you’ll also have an opportunity to add information. Learn the details here . And the advice below will apply!
So should you write about coronavirus?
On this webinar at the 14:00 mark, I asked Rick Clark, Director of Admission at Georgia Tech, this very question. His response: “How could they not!” In other words: You totally have permission to write about this.
But it also kinda’ depends on your pandemic experience.
Which of the following best describes what the pandemic has been like for you?
It’s been okay . Online school wasn’t as good as real school, but I adapted, played video games maybe a little more than usual (so my sleeping schedule was weird), and hung out with my family a little more. TBH, though, things haven’t changed (or didn’t change) too much for me.
Very negative. Coronavirus rocked my world—and not in a good way. The pandemic has led to serious hardships for my family and me. It’s been incredibly stressful, and we’re still living with some uncertainty.
Very positive. And I feel weird saying that because I know so many people have been negatively impacted. But I’ve learned some new things/felt inspired/maybe even started a new project and (maybe even) I’ve even shifted the way I’m thinking about my future!
It’s been a roller coaster (so 2 and 3). In some ways, it’s been really difficult, but in other ways, it’s been productive, and I’m learning a lot.
Do a quick self-scan: Which feels most like your experience?
And if your experience has been way too complex to fit into one of these (admittedly) overly-simplistic and reductive categories, read on.
But based on these broad categories, I’d say ...
If your life hasn’t changed too much (so A), no need to write about it.
If the pandemic has been either very negative (B), very positive (C), or like a roller coaster (D), maybe do write about it.
The questions are: Where should you write about it in your application, and how?
You’ve got options.
Where to Write About COVID-19/ Coronavirus on Your College Application?
If the school you’re applying to is on the Common App, your options include:
The special COVID-19 question (250 words)
The Additional Information section (650 words)
Your main personal statement (650 words)
Below, I’ll offer tips on how to write each one. And if the school you’re applying to is not on the Common App, check out that school’s particular application.
There’s an old saying in the musical theater world that goes something like this: If what you want to say is so important that mere words can’t capture it, you sing it. And if not even singing can capture those feelings, you dance it. (More commonly: “If you can’t say it, sing it. If you can’t sing it, dance it.”)
That’s pretty much my advice when it comes to writing about coronavirus/COVID-19 on your college application.
How to Write About COVID-19/ Coronavirus on Your College Application
More specifically, if you feel as though you need to address your pandemic experience in your college application, I’d say:
If you can fit your pandemic experiences into the 250-word COVID-19 section, do it.
If you need more space, use the 650-word Additional Information section.
If a) your pandemic experience was one of the most important things that’s ever happened to you and there’s no way it could fit in both of the sections named above, b) you believe that describing your pandemic experience is the best way to demonstrate the values/skills/qualities that you’ll bring with you to a college campus, and c) you’ve spent at least an hour exploring other topics using high-quality brainstorming exercises with a partner and still haven’t come up with any other ideas, then you might consider using the 650-word personal statement.
But keep in mind that if you do write about the pandemic in your personal statement, then you can’t use the 250-word COVID-specific section for anything else. On the other hand, if you write about the pandemic in the COVID-specific space, you can use your personal statement for …. whatever you want.
Also note that the Common App is kind of hinting that you should use the 250-word COVID-19 section so that you can use the rest of your application for other things: “ We want to provide colleges with the information they need, with the goal of having students answer COVID-19 questions only once while using the rest of the application as they would have before to share their interests and perspectives beyond COVID-19.”
Again, I’m going to show you how to write something in each section, but can you sense which way I’m nudging you?
And btw, if you’re unsure what else to write your personal statement on, keep reading—I’ll share brainstorming exercises below.
How to Write About Coronavirus Using the Special COVID-19 (250-Word) Section on the Common App
Here again is the question you’ll see on the Common App:
Option 1: The Straightforward Way
If you did face significant challenges during the pandemic, one way to write about your pandemic experience is by using this structure:
a) Challenges Faced + Impacts on Me
b) What I Did about It
c) What I Learned
Below is an example of what this might look like. (It’s not an actual example, but was written by a former student to illustrate how you can write yours)
Example 1 (faced significant challenges):
Living in rural North Carolina, I have limited access to a consistent, high-speed internet connection. During the pandemic, my family did not have the means to upgrade to a higher internet speed and were working hard around the house trying to make ends meet. This meant I was often unable to access the internet in time to turn in assignments when they were due. It was also difficult to concentrate because our house is very small and everyone was working in close proximity.
Although I found it hard to focus on schoolwork, I communicated these problems to my family so that we could work together. I organized a rotating schedule for my parents and my older sister. We marked off the blocks of time during which we would need to be online and created a system in which only two family members would be on the internet at the same time. The people who were not busy would stay quiet indoors or go outside to talk. This made it so that the internet was faster and there was less noise inside the house.
I am proud to say that I used what I had at my disposal to make the best out of a difficult situation. The unusual conditions instilled in me the value of organization and clear communication. I found ways of adapting my work to fit new time constraints and will bring this knowledge with me to college. (240 words)
Quick Notes + Tips:
This kind of straightforward and factual tone is fine. In fact, some readers will prefer it.
Notice how the example above devotes one bullet point to each of the elements I mentioned: a) Challenges Faced + Impacts on Me, b) What I Did about It, c) What I Learned. And yes, bullet points are OK in this section.
Notice how, in the third bullet point, the author demonstrates a few values that will serve them in college and beyond: adaptability, organization, communication. For a list of values, click here .
Example 2 (did not face significant challenges):
I live in Marfa, Texas, where an important part of the local economy is the restaurant industry. Many businesses in the area were forced to shut down or operate in a more limited capacity. To support these people and their contributions to our community, I started an online blog to write reviews about the takeout my family and I ate during quarantine. I made sure to include details about how food could be ordered and what options they had for different dietary restrictions. As someone who has a very restrictive diet, I understand the importance of finding food that is healthy, delicious, and conscious of different dietary needs. I also wanted to encourage people to support their local businesses.
In addition, to keep myself physically active despite limited mobility, I created a makeshift gym in my house. I fashioned “dumbbells” out of old milk cartons filled with dirt and took an online class about weight training to build a balanced workout schedule. I even got my parents to join me once a week!
I stayed connected with friends during weekly sessions on Zoom and Discord. We often spent hours playing online board games like Bananagrams and Codenames. Because I enjoyed bonding over these games and being intellectually stimulated by the puzzles they posed, I ended up taking an online course in Python and am working on coding my first video game. (231 words)
Quick Notes + Tips:
Notice how in this example, which is not a real example either but was written for illustrative purposes, the author chooses three specific aspects of the pandemic and devotes one bullet point to each.
The author begins by describing a particular need (supporting local businesses) and what they did about it (started a blog). This demonstrates the values of leadership and entrepreneurialism—even without naming the values explicitly, which is fine.
The second bullet point addresses a separate value (health), and the author gives evidence that the impact went beyond themselves—to their parents!
Finally, the author demonstrates the value of what I like to call “curiosity with legs” (i.e., being interested in something—then doing something about it). Again, the tone is straightforward, which works well.
If this kind of straightforward, factual tone isn’t your thing, you could start with something that grabs our attention. Like this:
Example 3 (faced significant challenges):
“Jose, turn down the TV. MOM, THE STOVE WON’T TURN ON! Be quiet, I’m on a call. Zuli, have you seen the scissors anywhere?!” Life in quarantine was actually four lives squished together. The pandemic forced my parents, my older sister, and I into a space that wasn’t built for all of our preferences and professions. Living in a small, one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles meant that internet speed was often slow and privacy was minimal. We were constantly yelling, stepping on each other’s toes. Although I was discouraged, I knew that the tension in our house came mostly from fear of uncertainty, not a lack of love. I kept a level head and called a family meeting. Together, we organized a rotating schedule, marking off when we needed to be online. With this information, we created a system in which only two family members would be on the internet at any time. The people who were not busy would keep quiet or go outside to talk. In a matter of days, the internet was faster and the noise had gone down. I did what I could to make the best out of a difficult situation. The unusual conditions instilled in me the value of organization and clear communication. And I learned how to hit pause when things got intense. We’re still squished, but our love is louder than our yelling. (231 words)
Quick Notes + Tips:
Using a slightly more creative approach is also fine. In fact, some readers may find it refreshing. But note that the “slightly more creative” opening is really just 24 words long. The rest is pretty straightforward. So don’t spend too much time obsessing over this. The information you share is what’s most important here.
Notice how, in this example, the author takes the framework of the first example essay and bends it into a more cohesive narrative. It still follows the same path (i.e., identifying the challenges/effects, how you dealt with them, what you learned), but smooths the edges between those sections. It also gets a bit more creative with the intro, hooking readers with some intriguing sentence fragments. If you want to do something a little unconventional, this is a good framework you can use.
Also notice that the author still keeps all the relevant information here. It’s still crucial for her to communicate that the internet speed was slow and the house was crowded because that’s essentially the answer to the prompt. Those are challenges that will help admissions officers contextualize the author’s transcript. Remember, important information like that should be included no matter which of these formats you use.
How to Brainstorm Content for Your Own COVID-19 Response:
Use this Values List to identify 3-5 values you gained (or strengthened) during the pandemic.
Brainstorm examples to demonstrate each value (e.g., to show the value of “health” the example might be “I built a makeshift gym and designed a workout schedule”).
Write one bullet point per value. Keep it succinct, as in the examples above.
Here’s a simple Google doc template where you can brainstorm the ideas above.
How to Write About Coronavirus Using the (650-Word) Additional Information Section
First, here’s a comprehensive guide that describes what students typically use this section for. Know that writing about coronavirus in this section is also totally fine.
Next, ask yourself, “Am I sure I can’t fit everything into the 250-word Coronavirus/COVID-19 section described above?” The reason I ask that is that it’s tough for me to imagine a scenario in which your pandemic experience(s) would not fit into the space above. I suppose if you created a project that was so large in scope that you have lots of details that wouldn’t fit into 250 words, but I imagine this will apply to fewer than 5% of students. But if that’s you, then by all means, use this section.
If you do use this section, here are some general tips:
When you’re ready to brainstorm content for that section, use the simple three-step process described above where it says, “How to Brainstorm Content for Your Own COVID-19 Response.”
Probably keep the tone straightforward and factual. Value content over poetry. This is, after all, the Additional Information section.
Probably don’t write a whole 650-word essay on your coronavirus experience. Why?
a) What can be communicated in a 650-word essay can probably be communicated in 250 words in the coronavirus-specific section (see above).
b) It’s likely to be a very common essay topic (more on that below), so writing a full-length essay may lead to blending in more than standing out.
c) Again, this is the additional information (and not the additional essay) section.
Note that I say probably in the bullet points above. Could there be an exception to these tips? Something I’m not thinking about? Absolutely. If you are that exception, rock on. (In fact, email me and let me know if you feel you’re the exception, and please share with me what you wrote: [email protected] )
Again, here’s some guidance on how to use the Additional Information section in general.
How to Write About Coronavirus in Your College Essay (i.e., Your 650-Word Personal Statement)
Quick recap in case you skipped straight to this section:
Probably use the coronavirus-specific 250-word section on the Common App. That may be enough space to say what you want to say. Read the section above to see if that might be true for you.
Whatever doesn’t fit there, you can probably fit into the Additional Info section.
If you’ve read both of the sections above and you’re still feeling like you want to write about your pandemic experience in your personal statement, ask yourself if you want to devote:
Part of your personal statement to your pandemic experience (maybe because it connects to a topic you were considering anyway) or
All of your personal statement to your pandemic experience (maybe because you’ve faced extraordinary challenges)
If the answer is part (because you don’t want to potentially be defined by your pandemic experience in your reader’s eyes), I’d recommend using the Montage Structure and devoting a paragraph of your essay to your pandemic experience.
In other words, think of it as a chapter in your life as opposed to the whole book.
If the answer is all (maybe because you’ve faced significant challenges), I’d recommend the Narrative Structure .
Here’s how to write both of these, beginning with ...
How to Use Montage Structure to Describe Your Pandemic Experience in Part of Your Essay
Before you start writing about the pandemic, I’d recommend first brainstorming a variety of topics that might show different values/skills/qualities that you’ll bring with you to a college campus. You can do that using the exercises on this page in the section called “My favorite resources for brainstorming everything you'll need for your college application.” Each exercise will take you 5-20 minutes but will set you up for your entire application. In fact, you may want to bookmark that link because a) I’ll refer to it a couple of times below, plus b) the resources on that page will probably answer a lot of other college application questions you’ll have.
Once you’ve found a great non-pandemic-related topic that captures some of the magic of who you are, ask yourself ...
What was my main take-away from the pandemic?
A simple way to figure that out is to look at this List of Needs and identify 1-2 main needs that became more apparent to you during the pandemic.
Example: Maybe you realized how much you needed community . Or structure . Or contribution .
Whatever need(s) you identify, next answer: How did I work to meet that need during the pandemic?
In other words: How did you meet your need for community? Or structure? Or contribution? (Or whatever value you’ve picked.) What did you actually do ?
Once you’ve identified that, answer: What did I learn? Or how did I grow?
A great way to figure out what you learned or how you grew is to pick from this List of Values .
Try to identify 1-3 values you connected with more deeply as a result of your work to meet your needs.
Needs: Community + contribution
How I tried to meet these needs: Hosted a virtual open mic with my class where my peers took turns reading and sharing their pandemic experiences
What I learned: Some of my friends are really creative (or) that vulnerability can create closeness even when we can’t be together in person (or) you get the idea ...
Again, here’s a simple Google doc template where you can brainstorm the ideas above.
A Quick Word of Advice on How to Stand Out If You’re Writing About Coronavirus
Once you’ve identified a few potential (ideally, uncommon!) values, ask yourself: How could I work this idea or these ideas into the topic I’ve already thought of?
Again, make this just one part of the larger story of your life.
First, as I mentioned above, COVID-19 is likely to be a common topic this year. And while that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write about it, I do think it’s going to be a lot harder to stand out with this topic. So, if possible, brainstorm other possible ideas using the resources above before you commit to this as your topic.
Second, check in with yourself: Are you choosing this because some part of you believes, or someone told you, that it’s “better” to write about a challenge for your college essay? BECAUSE IT’S NOT TRUE. :) You’ll find many examples of amazing essays written by students who do not discuss significant challenges. (To see some, click this link and scroll down to the “Personal Statement Examples” link.)
Having said all this, if you still feel that describing your pandemic experience is The Best Way to Show Who You Are, then I recommend this structure:
Challenge(s) I faced based on the pandemic + their impact on me
What I did about it/them
What I learned/How I grew from the experience
Important: Make sure that only the start of your essay describes the challenges and their impact on you, then most of your essay is devoted to describing what you did about it and what you learned from the experience. Why? Because your goal with the personal statement is to demonstrate skills, qualities, values, and interests. If you’re committing to COVID-19 as a topic, you’re basically saying that you feel this is the best way to show the many sides of who you are. Is that true? Is this your deepest story?
If you’re not sure, complete this Feelings and Needs exercise . You’ll find out in about 15 minutes.
If you’re certain if this is your deepest story, still do the Feelings and Needs exercise . It’ll help you create an outline that you can use to write your personal statement.
That’s what I’ve got.
Feel free to email to share examples of what you’re working on with [email protected] , as I’ll likely publish a follow-up once we get deeper into the fall.
WANT HELP writing YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT? CHECK OUT A FREE TRIAL OF MY STEP-BY-STEP VIDEO COURSE HERE
Watch the lessons on your own or via the live option.
- Paragraph Writing
- Paragraph Writing On Covid 19
Paragraph Writing on Covid 19 - Check Samples for Various Word Limits
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a deadly pandemic that has affected the whole world. It was a viral infection that affected almost everyone in some way or the other. However, the effects have been felt differently depending on various factors. As it is a virus, it will change with time, and different variants might keep coming. The virus has affected the lifestyle of human beings. The pandemic has affected the education system and the economy of the world as well. Many people have lost their lives, jobs, near and dear, etc.
Table of Contents
Paragraph writing on covid-19 in 100 words, paragraph writing on covid-19 in 150 words, paragraph writing on covid-19 in 200 words, paragraph writing on covid-19 in 250 words, frequently asked questions on covid-19.
Check the samples provided below before you write a paragraph on Covid-19.
Coronavirus is an infectious disease and is commonly called Covid-19. It affects the human respiratory system causing difficulty in breathing. It is a contagious disease and has been spreading across the world like wildfire. The virus was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China. In March, WHO declared Covid-19 as a pandemic that has been affecting the world. The virus was spreading from an infected person through coughing, sneezing, etc. Therefore, the affected people were isolated from everyone. The affected people were even isolated from their own family members and their dear ones. Other symptoms noticed in Covid – 19 patients include weariness, sore throat, muscle soreness, and loss of taste and smell.
Coronavirus, often known as Covid-19, is an infectious disease. It affects the human respiratory system, making breathing difficult. It’s a contagious disease that has been spreading like wildfire over the world. The virus was initially discovered in Wuhan, China, in 2019. Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization in March. The virus was transferred by coughing, sneezing, and other means from an infected person. As a result, the people who were affected were isolated from the rest of society. The folks who were afflicted were even separated from their own family members and loved ones. Weariness, sore throat, muscle stiffness, and loss of taste and smell are among the other complaints reported by Covid-19 individuals. Almost every individual has been affected by the virus. A lot of people have lost their lives due to the severity of the infections. The dropping of oxygen levels and the unavailability of oxygen cylinders were the primary concerns during the pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic was caused due to a man-made virus called coronavirus. It is an infectious disease that has affected millions of people’s lives. The pandemic has affected the entire world differently. It was initially diagnosed in 2019 in Wuhan, China but later, in March 2020, WHO declared that it was a pandemic that was affecting the whole world like wildfire. Covid-19 is a contagious disease. Since it is a viral disease, the virus spreads rapidly in various forms. The main symptoms of this disease were loss of smell and taste, loss of energy, pale skin, sneezing, coughing, reduction of oxygen level, etc. Therefore, all the affected people were asked to isolate themselves from the unaffected ones. The affected people were isolated from their family members in a separate room. The government has taken significant steps to ensure the safety of the people. The frontline workers were like superheroes who worked selflessly for the safety of the people. A lot of doctors had to stay away from their families and their babies for the safety of their patients and their close ones. The government has taken significant steps, and various protocols were imposed for the safety of the people. The government imposed a lockdown and shut down throughout the country.
The coronavirus was responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. It is an infectious disease that has affected millions of people’s lives. The pandemic has impacted people all across the world in diverse ways. It was first discovered in Wuhan, China, in 2019. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed it a pandemic in March 2020, claiming that it has spread throughout the globe like wildfire. The pandemic has claimed the lives of millions of people. The virus had negative consequences for those who were infected, including the development of a variety of chronic disorders. The main symptoms of this disease were loss of smell and taste, fatigue, pale skin, sneezing, coughing, oxygen deficiency, etc. Because Covid-19 was an infectious disease, all those who were infected were instructed to segregate themselves from those who were not. The folks who were affected were separated from their families and locked in a room. The government has prioritised people’s safety. The frontline personnel were like superheroes, working tirelessly to ensure the public’s safety. For the sake of their patients’ and close relatives’ safety, many doctors had to stay away from their families and babies. The government had also taken significant steps and implemented different protocols for the protection of people.
What is meant by the Covid-19 pandemic?
The Covid-19 pandemic was a deadly pandemic that affected the lives of millions of people. A lot of people lost their lives, and some people lost their jobs and lost their entire families due to the pandemic. Many covid warriors, like doctors, nurses, frontline workers, etc., lost their lives due to the pandemic.
From where did the Covid-19 pandemic start?
The Covid-19 pandemic was initially found in Wuhan, China and later in the whole world.
What are the symptoms of Covid-19?
The symptoms of Covid-19 have been identified as sore throat, loss of smell and taste, cough, sneezing, reduction of oxygen level, etc.
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