Evictions Caused 433,700 Excess Covid Infections, 10,700 Deaths, Study Says

A new study connects evictions to the spread of the coronavirus. Evictions continued in huge numbers during the pandemic despite a patchwork of eviction protections at multiple layers of government.

2 minute read

December 4, 2020, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

COVID-19 Eviction Crisis

Steve Heap / Shutterstock

New research quantifies grim public health effects of evictions during the pandamic.  "[E]victions between the beginning of the pandemic and the CDC’s national eviction moratorium in September led to 433,700 excess COVID-19 cases and 10,700 additional deaths," reports Jeff Andrews, who is sharing the news of a study published this week, led by Kathryn Leifheit at the University of California, Los Angeles.

According to the research, the same households that are more likely to be infected, low-income Black and Latino households, are also more likely to be evicted. "After an eviction, people often bunk with family or friends (or, if they have no other options, go into the shelter system), and that creates more points of social contact, opening up the risk of disease transmission," explains Andrews.

The news puts in stark terms the inadequacies of the eviction protections put in place by the CDC and many state and local governments around the country during the pandemic, as unemployment spiked as a result stay-at-home orders and other public health restrictions around the country.

For more insight into the findings of the study, Leifheit also sat down for an interview with Mary Louise Kelly at NPR. The discussion includes more detail on the patchwork of eviction protections implemented by federal, state, and local agencies during the pandemic, and how it came up short in protecting vulnerable populations from the economic and health ravages of the pandemic. Texas is singled out as a place where lifting an eviction order early in the pandemic led to a large number of infections.

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