Coronavirus Response

  • Housing

    • Thirty million people have filed for unemployment claims since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some businesses are foregoing rent themselves. Done Waiting supports the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act which would forgive unpaid rents and fees through one month past the official end of the pandemic by creating a relief fund for landlords and lenders.

    • People should not be forced to pay for housing during this period of high layoffs and unemployment. 

    • New York City is considering only increasing homeless shelter capacity and policing of subways. However, hotels around the country are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government must incentivize the utilization of this unused space to safely care for homeless populations and develop long-term, no-cost, fit-for-human-life housing accommodations.

 

  • COVID-19’s Disproportionate Effect on POC

    • With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen more incidences of hate crimes committed against Asian-Americans. This has largely been because the current narrative propagated by Trump's Administration, as well as several media outlets, that the Chinese people and the Chinese government are at fault for this entire pandemic. However, in reality, it is extremely difficult to trace back a disease’s “patient zero” simply because viruses can mutate so quickly, and so many individuals are asymptomatic. There is no way to tell if a virus came from a specific market or person, and these narratives only serve to reinforce harmful and false narratives about food and hygiene habits.

    • Done Waiting supports increased transparency and education on the epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as a public statement made by the President of the United States as well as other world leaders acknowledging this increased hate and false information.

    • Indigenous Communities and COVID-19

      • Tribal Nations such as the Navajo Nation, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, White Mountain Apache, Pueblo of Zia, and Pueblo of San Felipe have higher per capita COVID-19 infection rates than New York, the state with the highest infection rate.  

      • Even though Tribal Nations often take on responsibilities that a state or local government would take on, they do not have the same ability to collect tax revenue like state and local governments do. This makes them largely dependent on economic enterprises like casinos and tourism to fund social programs, police, and health. Done Waiting’s full policy on Indigenous Autonomy can be found here

      • Indigenous Autonomy is more important now than ever, especially since we know that some Tribal Nations are being affected in a different and more dire way than many states. The CARES act provided $8 billion in relief funding to “Tribal Governments,” but this label also includes for-profit tribal corporations. This means that the money is not always directly going to the people, but instead being filtered through corporations. Several Tribal governments have recently filed a lawsuit to make sure that only non-profit entities can access this aid. 

      • Done Waiting believes that this aid, and future aid, must all be in the hands of the self-elected Tribal Governments, and they must decide how this aid will be distributed. 

      • Done Waiting also believes that given the high infection rates on Native Reservations, more than $8 billion of aid must be appropriated to First Nations.

    • Demanding racial data

      • COVID-19 infection and death rates disproportionately affect minority communities, specifically African Americans. In Michigan, black individuals account for 40% of COVID-19 deaths, even though they account for 14% of Michigan’s population.

      • These data points clearly show the racial disparities that currently exist in our health system.  

      • There is racial bias in the healthcare system that has been exacerbated by COVID-19 when it comes to POC symptoms not being taken seriously.

      • Done Waiting believes that racial data must be reported on every case of COVID-19 in order to hold the government accountable. We must look at data 

    • Our Healthcare System and Communities of Color

      • One of the reasons that COVID-19 is so prevalent in black communities and communities of color is because of the already existing inequities in our healthcare system as well as our system as a whole. 

      • People with heart conditions, diabetes, asthma, and several other diseases are at a heightened risk for more severe cases of COVID-19. 

      • One study found that Black people have 66 more cases of diabetes per 1,000 individuals than whites. This is due to the higher rates of diabetes in black, and in poorer communities. The reason obesity is more prevalent in poorer communities is because the cheapest food in this country is the most unhealthy food, and those who consume food subsidized by the federal government are 37% more likely to be obese. 

      • Our country’s asthma rates are another example of systemic inequities that affect COVID-19 prevalence in communities of color. Black and Hispanic people suffer from severe asthma at much higher rates, and up to 40% of risk for asthma in these populations can be attributed to environmental factors. 

        • This means that the more polluted our cities get, and the more communities of color that are deemed as ecological ‘sacrifice zones’ by large corporations just trying to turn a profit, more and more children will be getting asthma and having bad health outcomes from asthma. 

      • The high rates of asthma is not due to genetic differences between white and minority populations - which was the previous theory- but instead due to the government’s neglect to protect these communities. Now, this neglect has contributed to the high COVID-19 death rates in these communities today.

      • Poor individuals do not often have access to insurance or hospitals, and this combined with the higher instances of pre-existing conditions are known to affect the severity of COVID-19. 

      • Done Waiting believes that we must fix the systemic inequities that allow for such stark differences in incidence rates of COVID-19 across ethnicities and races, but we acknowledge that changes such as these take time. In the meantime, the government must appropriate resources in a way where the hardest hit communities receive the most funding and a robust response in order to mitigate the factors that have been created to harm these same communities.

    • Decarceration in Relation to COVID-19

      • Nationwide, the United State’s prisons are at 99.8% occupancy, down from 103.9% in 2018. These statistics show that many prisons in the U.S. are overcrowded, which is especially inhumane and deadly during an pandemic.  

      • Done Waiting supports releasing the elderly, those with nonviolent convictions, and those who are within 6 months to the end of their sentence from prisons. This will help combat overcrowding in prisons, therefore reducing the spread of COVID-19 within detention centers.   

      • Done Waiting believes we must immediately abolish cash bail in this country, allowing for individuals to get out of jail while they await trial, since the pandemic is slowing down many states’ judicial systems. Since we can not ensure the right to a speedy trial, it is the federal government’s responsibility to release those awaiting trial. This will also help reduce the amounts of COVID-19 cases in jails across the country.  

    • Immigration

      • Due to COVID-19, there has been an almost complete ban on immigration. This has put refugees and other high-risk immigrants at an even higher risk. Since so many individuals seek refuge in our country, we have a responsibility to these populations, even in a crisis. 

        • Done Waiting supports keeping our borders open to asylum seekers and high-risk immigrants, but obviously testing every individual before they enter our country, and those who test positive will be quarantined. This will take a lot of resources and support, and will likely get pushback from republicans. However, we must fight for these policies because we can not deny peoples’ rights to safety and life. 

      • It is important for the U.S government to provide support to refugees all the time, but especially during a pandemic. Done Waiting advocates for Medicare for All and universal coverage to include undocumented immigrants and refugees. As well as immigrants awaiting their status.

      • Even though so many undocumented immigrants are currently serving as essential workers, they lack access to coronavirus relief and care because of their immigration status.

      • ICE is still deporting people during this pandemic. Done Waiting supports a complete stay on deportations. ICE detention centers are unprepared to handle the pandemic and save lives.  

      • Done Waiting believes Emergency funds must be allocated for humanitarian assistance at the Southern border, in support of H.R 3401 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Humanitarian Assistance and Security at the Southern Border Act

    • Puerto Rico and COVID-19

      • Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, as well as other natural disasters. This is largely due to the FEMA and the Trump Administration’s failure to adequately address the disaster. 

      • Puerto Rico has come under fire for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they have been criticized for not having robust enough testing.

      • Even though PR’s government has been criticized for their response to COVID-19, Puerto Rico has little ability to control their own economy, and the territory has little autonomy as a whole. Puerto Rico had a poverty rate of 43.1% in 2018, while the U.S. national rate was 11.8%. This shows the negative effects that the U.S.’ paternalistic relationship with the territory has, and it is the U.S. government’s responsibility to provide enough aid to the territory.

      • Done Waiting believes federal leadership must consult with local leadership in PR, and be cognizant of their place in the community when providing aid for COVID-19. Done Waiting advocates for the territory to have adequate funding to deal with their pandemic.

  • Health Care

    • Done Waiting supports Medicare for All, which would help mediate the inequities found in our current healthcare system.  

      • Done Waiting’s health care policy can be found here

    • Done Waiting supports H.R. 6591 but realizes that more can always be done when caring for our veterans, especially during an pandemic. Our full veterans policy can be viewed here

    • Done Waiting believes now is a good time to lower the eligibility age for Medicaid which will allow more individuals to have access to better care, but obviously we do need to realize that it will take time to transition away from private insurance to public. However, in the meantime, the government needs to mandate that every private insurance company provides telehealthcare, since this is our new reality. 

    • In terms of telehealthcare, there are also hurdles to overcome across state borders. It is important that students and families who have been displaced by the pandemic can continue to get telehealth care from their original home. The federal government needs to work with private insurance companies during this time, and ensure that companies will cover the same amount of telecare as they would in-person care.

    • When discussing telehealthcare, we also must discuss access to technology and internet services. Done Waiting advocates for nationalizing utilities, which includes the internet, meaning everyone would have access to wi-fi at a fair cost. In the meantime, the government must make grants available for those who do not have internet access, as some school districts have done, in order to ensure that individuals can still receive telehealthcare services.

    • Before medicare-for-all is implemented, private insurance should be required to cover all costs of COVID-19 in order to incentivize low-income citizens to seek the care they need. This will both save their lives and prevent community spread and future outbreaks.

    • Mental healthcare

      • Mental health care during a pandemic is more important than ever. People find themselves staying at home, possibly in abusive or unsafe situations. As stated earlier, while our country transitions to Medicare for All which will cover mental health services, Done Waiting advocates to mandate private health care companies to cover telehealth services with a patient’s normal practitioners.

  • Voter suppression

    • Because of the pandemic, there have been growing concerns about the election in November and beyond. Although Trump and the Republicans continue to be worried about the virtually non-existent problem of voter fraud, Done Waiting supports an expansion of voting by mail to ensure that our democracy is safe and intact. During a pandemic, it’s vital to protect the right to vote and boost turnout, not undermine it. It is also no secret that voter suppression efforts disproportionately target and affect minorities. Done Waiting vehemently opposes these policies pushed by Republicans, and we acknowledges that they undermine our democracy. 

  • Sick leave, worker protections, hazard pay, unemployment, minimum wage, PPE 

    • The U.S. does not currently have a federal policy or direction on paid sick leave, making it one of the only developed countries with this problem. As a result of this lack of centralized paid sick leave policy, many employees are forced to take unpaid leave, or risk coming to work while ill. President Trump has signed into law some short term provisions to deal with the pandemic, however if we had paid sick leave already, we would have saved many more lives. Done Waiting wants to implement more permanent changes that would help American families, which can be found here.

    • Sanitation workers in New Orleans were fired and replaced with prison labor because they had strikes for higher wages, PPE, and better working conditions. All wage workers should receive hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic on top of a living wage of at least $15 an hour. Done Waiting supports invoking the Defense Production Act in order to produce sufficient amounts of protective equipment to keep workers safe. Further, workers should not be able to be fired for striking or unionizing. Done Waiting’s labor policy can be viewed here.

    • $1,200 was not enough of a stimulus payment for working class Americans. Done Waiting supports Representative Tlaib’s Automatic BOOST to communities Act, which would provide $2,000 to every person in America, and $1,000 every month until a year after the pandemic. This would include undocumented immigrants, dependents, and people who do not have bank accounts or a permanent address.

  • Government Accountability During COVID-19

    • During this pandemic, The Trump Administration has taken advantage of the media cloud surrounding COVID-19. For example:

      • The EPA is no longer enforcing environmental regulations, the Mashpee Wampanoag lands have been taken out of trust and their autonomy has been slashed, the halting of government services including visas and green cards, the halting of abortions, as well as the passage of increased “conscience rules” which will allow medical professionals to discriminate against LGBTQ+ folks on the grounds of “moral integrity.”

      • The media cloud has hidden these examples of injustice during COVID-19. Done Waiting will continue to bring light to examples of injustice during the pandemic, and we will also continue to take suggestions from the community for issues to shed light on. 

  • Environmental Policy

    • Done Waiting’s Environmental COVID-19 policy takes on a stance that aligns with our Green New Deal policy. 

    • The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many inequities in our system, specifically related to our health infrastructure. Unfortunately, a key determinant of an individual’s health is their zip code. Companies often choose to build their power plants in low-income areas because it is cheaper, and oftentimes low income areas are home to more people of color. 

    • Dearborn Industrial Generation (DIG) built a power plant in the southern part of Dearborn, Michigan, where there is a significant low-income Arab population. In south Dearborn, 60% of residents have little to know english proficiency, and the company is taking advantage of these residents by avoiding communicating with them in their language. Air and chemical pollution can make residents more susceptible to complications from COVID-19.

    • The EPA has told companies that they do not need to meet environmental standards during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is important that environmental regulation continue to be enforced. This could have devastating consequences for the most vulnerable communities because a reduction in pollution could reduce the number of deaths resulting from COVID-19.

    • Done Waiting believes we must immediately reinstate the enforcement of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    • Done Waiting believes we must utilize the crash of the fossil fuel and natural gas industry to advocate for a transition to more reliable renewable energy resources such as solar energy, wind energy, biofuel energy, and geothermal energy.

    • The economic crash resulting partially from the reduction in demand to travel due to COVID-19 demonstrates how dependent the US economy is on fossil fuels. The loopholes in the government tax code and the subsidization policies favoring the growth of the fossil fuel industry and prevention of the transition to greener energy need to be addressed in order to increase economic independence of fossil fuels.

    • This crash emphasizes that our energy system is dependent on fossil fuels and we need more diverse approaches, especially in the form of green energy in order to ensure a more environmental and economically sustainable future.