Experts have said that nearly 28 million people in the US may be evicted from their homes as several states end bans enacted to prevent evictions amid the COVID-19, raising alarm over public health during the ongoing crisis, say experts.
In March, as the COVID-19 pandemic began taking hold in the US and ravaged the nation's economy and led to large scale unemployment, several states introduced eviction bans. However, the embargos have lapsed in 29 states and are set to end in some.
Large Cities in Danger
According to data by Princeton University's Eviction Lab, eviction bans have been lifted in cities including Houston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and St. Louis. In Milwaukee, the largest city in the state of Wisconsin, eviction filings dropped to nearly zero after the state introduced an emergency ban in March. But after the order was lifted in May, evictions surged past the pre-pandemic levels, the Princeton lab's data showed.
Earlier this month, a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that in 44 cities and counties, eviction filings by landlords have almost returned to the levels where bans were never enacted. The massive displacement amid the coronavirus outbreak has raised concerns among health experts.
Creation of Threatening Conditions
Displaced families are less able to shelter in place, thus creating conditions for the virus to spread widely, said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "In these cases where social distancing is difficult or impossible, the likelihood of them contracting and spreading coronavirus increases exponentially," Yentel said on Friday.
"A key tenet of prevention in a pandemic is to have the infrastructure that will minimize transmission from person to person," said Nasia Safdar, an infectious disease physician. "Any activity that breaks down that structure ... makes containment of a pandemic exceedingly difficult," she added.
(With inputs from agencies)