Medical researchers say that more than 550 000 people are currently homeless throughout the United States, and they are more susceptible to illness caused by a coronavirus, due to the close quarters in shelters, sharing of utensils and lack of stations for hand washing in the streets.
Homeless people in the U.S. have no major medical conditions, and reliable medical care, this means that once infected they are much more likely to get sick or die. One study last year showed that 30 percent of the homeless had chronic lung disease.
“We should be very concerned, “says Dr. Helen chew, an infectious disease specialist in Seattle, where there is a high level of homelessness. So far none of the more than 100 confirmed cases in the state of Washington was not among the homeless.
Several cities in California have a large number of homeless people who are vulnerable to outbreaks, like Austin, Texas; Phoenix; Portland, ore; and official Washington in new York, home to the largest number of homeless in the country, issued a document of 11 pages in which the shelter is mandated to carry out screening people for symptoms and as soon as possible to identify and isolate those who have contracted the virus.
Under one tent in the center of San Diego in one sleeping shelter more than 300 people, most of whom are over 50 years old. Numbered bunk beds located at the distance of only two feet from each other.
“We just pray, “said Bob McElroy, head of the orphanage. “If he gets here, it will be a disaster“.