On April 29, the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR) will host a webinar to discuss the public health and policy implications of COVID-19 and to highlight the many policy parallels between the pandemic and climate change. The speakers include:
- Daniel Farber, JD – CPR Member Scholar and Sho Sato Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law, Energy, and Environment at the University of California, Berkeley
- Monica Schoch-Spana, PhD – Senior Scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and Senior Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health & Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH – Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School
While data on COVID-19’s effects continues to emerge, one thing is clear: It is hitting vulnerable communities hardest. People with cardiovascular disease and chronic lung conditions, such as asthma, have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Vulnerability to COVID-19 is also associated with exposure to harmful air pollutants. New research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that communities exposed to higher concentrations of ultra-fine particulate pollution known as PM2.5 (the 2.5 refers to micrometers) have a 15 percent greater death rate from COVID-19.
Early evidence also shows that, as with the effects of climate change, the pandemic is harming communities of color most. Data from cities and states around the country show that African Americans are contracting and dying from the virus at a significantly higher rate than other racial and ethnic groups.
Those who tune in to the webinar will hear discussions about the social and environmental stressors that laid the foundation for these disparities, as well as legal and policy solutions to promote community resilience, whether in the face of a pandemic or climate change. One example is the Stafford Act and other emergency powers that are typically invoked in response to natural disasters. Farber, Schoch-Spana, and Bernstein will also explore possible lessons from the public response to COVID-19 that advocates and policymakers might apply to addressing the climate crisis.
Register now to join us on Wednesday, April 29 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. If you can’t make it, register anyway and we’ll send you a recording.