HOUSTON - A new survey of how COVID-19 is affecting Texans shows what many might expect: The virus is hurting a lot of people financially and medically.
The survey was conducted by Houston's Episcopal Health Foundation, talking to almost 2,000 Texans in August and September. While the study includes many different experiences, there are some clear trends.
"When you see the consequences to real people's lives, it makes you think twice," says Episcopal Health Foundation CEO Elena Marks, who is one of the survey researchers.
Half of Texans have experienced financial hardship, through lost jobs or added expenses, hitting poor and uninsured households the worst.
37% of respondents report someone in their home has lost a job or work-hours. The survey finds those with no college degree (42%) have been affected worse than those 'with' a degree (27%).
Where healthcare is concerned, the survey finds more than a third say someone in their household has skipped or postponed some type of medical care; particularly, preventive checkups, mammograms, and immunizations. Interestingly, this happened, more, among those who are employed and have health insurance.
"They use care at a higher rate, in the first place. So, when they quit using care, it was a big deal," says Marks, "People who are lower-income, less likely to be insured or have lower education, aren't using that much care."
So, what to do with the information?
Jeff Burrell responded to the survey and says our approach needs to change. "We can't do what we've done during COVID-19 for every time a virus comes along. We won't survive as a nation; as a world," says Burrell, "It'll just be devastating." And researchers agree. "There will be another pandemic, and we were woefully underprepared for this one," says Marks."