Report reveals effect of COVID-19 pandemic in Mecklenburg Co.

Coronavirus pandemic's impact on Mecklenburg County

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The coronavirus pandemic and its effects across Mecklenburg County were front and center of a new report discussed by county leaders Wednesday afternoon.

“I think the impact is deep, it’s deep in education, it’s deep in healthcare, it’s deep in racial disparity on every level," said commissioner Susan Harden.

“It’s heartbreaking to look at this data, I mean people are doing bad," added commissioner Mark Jerrell.

From unemployment, access to food to housing, the report also painted a grim picture. Blacks are disproportionately affected by unemployment more than any other racial group, according to the report.

Part of the presentation also included possible solutions.

“Such actions can include focusing on housing programs, workforce development programs," said Monica Allen, director of strategic planning and evaluation.

Low-income and minority populated areas also behind in the digital world, the report showed.

Before the pandemic, 80,000 households in Mecklenburg County were without a computer.

“One thing we noticed is the digital divide has become a lynch-pin which is basically a host of social, health and economic challenges," Allen said.

The Charlotte-metro area is second-best when it comes to job postings compared to other large metro areas from January to June.

When it comes to small businesses, 33 percent of owners said it will take more than six months before they get back to pre-COVID levels.

Three of the hardest hit industries: leisure and hospitality, transportation and utilities, education and health services.

“We’ve had so many small businesses collapse, so I think part of our response needs to be is how do we help not only financially but give them some kind of hope,” said commissioner Elaine Powell.

“It’s going to take solutions at the state and national level to help us move forward," added Harden.

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