On Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control and the Biden Administration announced a new 60-day ban on evictions in areas of the country where transmission of the Covid-19 is high.
The eviction moratorium will last until October 3 and is effective in counties where there is “substantial and high levels of community transmission” of the coronavirus. It will cover roughly 80 percent of counties and 90 percent of the population.
“This is a tremendous relief for millions of people who were on the cusp of losing their homes and, with them, their ability to stay safe during the pandemic,” said president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Diane Yentel.
“Now, the work of state and local governments to distribute emergency rental assistance to tenants in need becomes all the more critical. The President has given them the time that they and millions of renters needed—they must use it effectively and expedite assistance. The country is watching, and tenants and landlords are waiting.”
The ban on evictions comes at a time when the delta variant, a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, makes up most new Covid-19 cases across the country. Concerns regarding the delta variant’s rapid spread prompted the moratorium.
“Eviction moratoria facilitate self-isolation and self-quarantine by people who become ill or who are at risk of transmitting COVID-19 by keeping people out of congregate settings and in their own homes,” the Biden administration’s announcement said.
Communities of color are disproportionately affected by the rising Covid-19 cases due to systemic racism and lack of adequate health care. According to a study conducted this spring by amfAR, an AIDS research nonprofit, counties across the country with a high population of Black residents made up 52% of Covid-19 cases and 58% of Covid-19 deaths nationwide.
Research conducted by the APM Research Lab found that in Kansas, Black people are seven times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people. In Missouri, Wisconsin, and Washington DC, Black people are six times more likely to die from the virus than white people.
“Social conditions, structural racism, and other factors elevate risk for COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths in Black communities,” said researchers at Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, and the University of Mississippi.
Black Americans were also more likely to experience job loss and pay cuts during the pandemic than white Americans. For white Americans, the pandemic caused the unemployment rate to rise to 14.2%. For Black Americans, however, the unemployment rate rose to 16.7%.
The CDC’s new eviction moratorium comes after the previous moratorium expired on Saturday despite efforts to extend it. The Biden administration had hesitated to extend the moratorium because it will likely be proven unconstitutional. However, after consulting legal experts, the administration moved the moratorium forward in the hopes that it will at least allow time to distribute rental assistance to tenants while the eviction ban’s legality is decided.
Representative Cori Bush (D-MO) led a five-day-long protest at the U.S. Capitol where she and other protesters slept on the Capitol steps to advocate for a renewed eviction ban. Her efforts finally succeeded, and she celebrated Tuesday’s announcement.
“We just did the work—just by loving folks—to keep millions in their homes,” Rep. Bush said.
Sources: CNN 8/3/21; Washington Post 8/3/21; Center for Disease Control 8/3/21; CNN 5/8/21; Washington Post 8/4/21