“I live in an apartment building with 55 units, and at last estimate, 12 people are sick with COVID-19, and one is on a ventilator in hospital. I am now in my 6th day of quarantine with the virus and it hasn’t been fun,” wrote one of us, Lynn Costello, a tenant in Lowell Public Housing for elderly and disabled persons, early in December, 2020.
In February, 2021, Lynn is well but she notes that 3 tenants were seriously ill and hospitalized with COVID, and two of them have died.
To the Stop Bullying Coalition
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
This is a time of great danger for all of us who are elderly and disabled and live in public and privately owned subsidized housing. We are all at exceptional risk of getting COVID, becoming severely ill, and of death.
Now I have COVID-19, or more precisely, COVID has me; I am 84 and have health conditions so that my risk is great. I have access to excellent medical care, although the health system is under stress and I am working long hours to assure my care.
December 8, 2020
The Honorable Governor Charles C. Baker
The State House
Dear Governor Baker,
We urge you to you pay heed to the warnings and counsel of experts in public health and act now to stop the spread of COVID-19, specifically by preventing gatherings that have been shown to enhance the spread, and by ongoing monitoring and enforcement of mandates.
December 4, 2020
To: Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Public Health
c/o Dr. Edward Bernstein, Public Health Council
Dear Commissioner Bharel,
In the Commonwealth, as well as across the nation, the valuable expertise of public health is being ignored, as people heedlessly expose themselves and others to COVID-19.
We know how to protect our housing communities from COVID-19, an infection that can devastate a housing development as it has already devastated nursing homes. But we aren’t following the essentials of public health in housing for the elderly and disabled, or in many other settings.
Bonny Zeh, co-founder of the Stop Bullying Coalition, shares her observations and ideas. Updated 24 October—JH
Gossip and bullying not only target people in public and subsidized housing but also inhibit the essential collaboration needed to protect everyone from COVID. Gossip and bullying together are a contagious social disease that destroys trust and drives us apart from each other. Together, we can find a way to overcome these barriers so all of us can survive this plague.