Refugees to the United States, especially those who are recently resettled, may be in living or working conditions that put them at risk of getting COVID-19. Some refugees also have limited access to health care, as well as certain underlying medical conditions that put them at higher risk of more severe illness from COVID-19, compared to the rest of the U.S. population.
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, or political opinion. Nearly 750,000 refugees resettled in the United States from 2008 to 2019, and thousands more have resettled since then.
Refugees are eligible for U.S. government-funded resettlement help, including healthcare benefits such as short-term health insurance for up to 8 months after arrival, and a medical exam within 90 days of arrival.
The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of resettled refugees remains unknown, as COVID-19 is a new disease. Meeting the healthcare and everyday needs of refugees, especially during health emergencies, can help keep communities safe.