COVID-19, Asthma and Equity: RAMP’s Response

With the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak, we hope you, your families and your communities remain healthy. These are extraordinary and exceedingly stressful times, and we see the many impacts the coronavirus is having on our colleagues – both personally and as stakeholders working to reduce the burden of asthma.

As we at RAMP continue to work toward our mission during this new reality, we want to share what we’re doing to help keep communities healthy.

For an overview of the COVID-19, asthma and equity, as well as emerging research findings, click here.

Virtual asthma home visits

In light of the many changes that the coronavirus pandemic is creating, on April 3, 2020, we hosted a webinar, Virtual Asthma Home Visits to learn more about virtual asthma home visits, share resources, and try to solve challenges related to implementation.

The webinar featured Nikita Kachroo, AE-C, from Children’s National Hospital. Before the coronavirus outbreak, Nikita and her colleagues were already implementing a virtual asthma home visiting program. On the webinar she shared lessons learned and challenges from her program. Other participants also shared resources and advice from their own work, and RAMP staff provided a brief update about what we’re learning about the implications of COVID-19 on people with asthma.

The webinar recording is now available, as are the presentation slides and a wide range of other virtual home visiting resources from Children’s National Hospital. See here for more details.

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Stronger tenant protections

Tenant protections are a core part of RAMP’s work to promote stable and healthy housing, and the coronavirus outbreak has only reinforced the importance of such protections. As the outbreak expanded, we were proud to support a call for a statewide moratorium on rent increases and evictions.

In partnership with Health Leads’ Bay Area Healthcare for Healthy Communities Learning Initiative (BALI), we also hosted a presentation on tenant protections. As you can see from this recording from early April, Madeline Howard from Western Center on Law and Poverty (WCLP) provided an update on new-in-2020 tenant protection laws, as well as some COVID-specific tenant protection policies. Shortly after this recording, the Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the California court system, issued new rules on evictions and foreclosures that effectively suspend nearly all evictions across the state. This additional video​ from WCLP and BALI covers COVID-related policies that are current as of 5/5/2020.

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Protective air quality regulations

We remain committed to protecting the public’s health and promoting equity by reducing air pollution, particularly in overburdened low-income communities and communities of color. This commitment is as strong as ever given the emerging connections between air pollution and poorer COVID-19 outcomes, so we joined other public health and environmental justice organizations in asking California’s Governor and legislature, as well as the California Air Resources Board, to oppose any rollbacks or delays in health-protective air quality regulations.

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Promoting safer cleaning products

As mentioned above, reducing exposure to environmental asthma triggers is also an important piece of asthma management – including taking extra precautions as people increase the use of cleaning products in hopes of preventing new COVID-19 infections. Fortunately, there are asthma-friendlier alternatives to products such as bleach. Here are a few examples:

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