In the Shadow of Shuttered Hospitals and the AIDS Crisis

Epigmenio Mayo getting chemotherapy for his cancer. He commuted to the hospital in Martinez on 3 buses. (Bo Kovitz)

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A Closed Hospital Leaves Low Income Communities in an Urban ‘Desert’

The COVID-19 crisis is amplifying so many disparities in our state, including access to health care. A new film called “The Desert” looks at the ripple effect after a hospital serving low income communities of color in Contra Costa County closed five years ago. Doctor’s Medical Center operated for some 60 years in the Bay Area, one of the wealthiest parts of the nation. But when it shut its doors, it left some 250,000 urban residents more than a half-hour drive away from a hospital – a problem intensified by the pandemic. The film premieres on KQED's Truly CA this month. Sasha talks with producer and director Bo Kovitz.

For HIV Survivors, Pandemic Is Sad Reminder of Early Days of AIDS

San Francisco and Oakland were on tap to host the recent 23rd International AIDS conference until the coronavirus hit, so attendees gathered virtually. COVID-19 was a key topic on the agenda. KQED science reporter Lesley McClurg talked to HIV survivors about what it’s like to live through two deadly outbreaks.

Tensions Around Contact Tracing During the AIDS Era Are Resurfacing With COVID-19

While gay activists marched and demanded the government invest more in AIDS research back in the 1980s and 90s, there were some forms of government help the gay community did not want. Contact tracing, used by public health officials to contain the spread of the virus, was very controversial during the AIDS era. Similar tensions around it are arising now that it’s a key pillar of California’s strategy for containing the coronavirus. KQED’s health correspondent April Dembosky explains we have a lot to learn from the past experience of veteran contact tracers.

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