Resuming evictions caused over 10,000 deaths in just six months

Evictions are murder. They help spread the virus.

So we were supposed to go to eviction court the day before Thanksgiving. We were about to make the trip but at the very last moment found out that it would not happen. There had been a bureaucratic mishap. Now our day in court is set for late January — less than two months from now and two months before Evgenia’s due to give birth.

Ever since the lockdown began in March, I’ve been saying that allowing evictions to go forward during a pandemic is premeditated murder. Evgenia and I even took part in a few early protests calling on Los Angeles to suspend evictions and provide rent support — which was months before we ourselves got hit with a frivolous eviction by our landlord. Now a new study that’s supposed to be published tomorrow backs this worry up: evictions spread the virus, they kill people — lots of them.

According to CNBC:

The researchers, from the University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, San Francisco, Johns Hopkins University, Boston University and Wake Forest University School of Law, found that lifting state moratoriums and allowing eviction proceedings to continue caused as many as 433,700 excess cases of Covid-19 and 10,700 additional deaths in the U.S. between March and September.

"When people are evicted, they often move in with friends and family, and that increases your number of contacts," said Kathryn Leifheit, one of the authors on the research and a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. "If people have to enter a homeless shelter, these are indoor places that can be quite crowded."

To best understand the direct impact that evictions continuing in a state has on the spread of the coronavirus, the researchers controlled for stay-at-home orders, mask orders, school closures, testing rates and other factors. The study period was from March to early September, before the most recent spike in cases.

Interested in reading the full paper and seeing how they came up with that number.

Despite all of this, Los Angeles County has revved up its evictions court again. That means that under LA’s current lockdown regime, people can’t enjoy a socially distanced coffee in an outdoor cafe but they can be forced to spend hours in inside court room — and then get kicked out on the street. That’s life in progressive, liberal California. Landlords uber alles!

—Yasha Levine

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