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.
Tenants in housing facilities for elderly and disabled persons are at elevated risk for serious outcomes or death from COVID because their age and other health conditions make them highly vulnerable.
Prevention is the best protection. But in many housing developments, neither management or tenants enforce or follow the best practice protocols for protection and mitigation.
The potential for a COVID disaster affecting elderly and disabled tenants has escalated because of the increased level of infection in many Massachusetts communities.
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.
We must work together to mitigate—to reduce the harm, illness and deaths—that COVID-19 threatens to bring to our housing community. Our success depends on a coordinated effort where everyone works together: landlord/housing authority, management, custodians, social workers, and tenants.
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.