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Delta Variant Spreads | Pandemic Highlights Inequities

Houseless people living in the encampment on the south side of City Hall in Kansas City moved into temporary housing or left the grounds altogether in April.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Those who are homeless often have little to no access to basic healthcare such as clean water and soap.

With state vaccination rates stagnating, the coronavirus variant is flourishing in parts of Missouri and a partnership between KCUR and The Beacon dives into the what the pandemic has revealed about longstanding inequities.

Segment 1, beginning at 1:00: Areas of rural Missouri are experiencing a rise in COVID-19 case numbers due to the more easily transmissible Delta variant.

Despite promising vaccination rates early in the year, Missouri's state-wide percentage for fully vaccinated individuals has plateaued at about 39%. A smaller number of people getting vaccinated coupled with the more contagious variant of COVID-19 has caused rural parts of Missouri to become hot spots for infection. "What we went from was brakes and the emergency brake on, to the accelerator," said Dr. Gene Olinger. "We didn't have a middle ground."

Segment 2, beginning at 25:35: As part of the Institute for Nonprofit News project "AC: Life After COVID," a collaboration of KCUR and The Beacon is reporting on the region's shortage of quality housing and how that affects health outcomes.

The pandemic laid bare many of the longstanding inequities of our society, including housing access and healthcare availability. Something as simple as washing one's hands during the pandemic is common place for many but difficult for those in the unhoused population. Reporters from KCUR and The Kansas City Beacon are reporting on the metro's low-income quality housing shortage and the urgency of dealing with it, the measures to provide medical treatment to the homeless and the hidden plight of "precariously housed" families accepting substandard housing conditions

When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Chris Young is an Assistant Producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact him at chrisy@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Trevor Grandin is a contributing producer for KCUR Studios.