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How to Balance Public Health with Homeless Rights in a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the challenges people without homes face in getting the care they need. Their physicians face challenges too, especially in balancing the dual responsibilities of promoting the welfare and confidentiality of individual patients and protecting public safety. As with previous public health crises in the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has funneled resources into numerous projects that fail to strengthen society or address long-standing inequities, as highlighted by authors in an article published in the AMA Journal of Ethics. The article reports that people living in poverty—who disproportionately come from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups—continue dying at higher rates, leaving behind families who then struggle to afford housing, food and other essentials

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