Appalachian Coal Communities Brace For Coronavirus: It’s Going ‘To Wipe Us Out’
Dr. Leonard Go, co-investigator at the UIC Black Lung Center of Excellence, was interviewed by the Huffington Post on the risks active and retired miners face during COVID-19 and the infrastructure in place to address their specific healthcare needs.
After about 20 years of declines, the United States started seeing more black lung cases in the 1990s, said Dr. Leonard Go, a physician and black lung researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. Researchers aren’t sure why the problem has increased, Go said, but they suspect changes in mining technology that create more dust from the rocks surrounding coal deposits.
Go believes that most clinics have suspended their black lung evaluation. And while the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill included some help for rural hospitals and clinics, Go urged legislators to do more to fund black lung clinics that have had to shut their doors.