Like so many of the factors that lay us open to pandemic disease, poverty is both a cause of the covid pandemic AND a consequence of our short-termist reactions to it.
Poverty has always been a risk factor in your health. So it should be no surprise that studies and analyses are showing us that covid rates and outcomes are proportionally worse for the poor.
- ‘with each 5% increase in percent households with poor housing conditions, there was a 50% higher risk of COVID-19 incidence and a 42% higher risk of COVID-19 mortality’ – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0241327
- ‘Multivariate survival analyses revealed that individuals living in municipalities with extreme poverty had 9% higher risk of dying at any given time proportionally to those living in municipalities classified as not poor.’ – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33367803/
And in many parts of the world, poverty is tied together with race:
- ‘These results show that COVID-19 disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority groups, who might also experience more socioeconomic challenges.’ – https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6942a3.htm
Then there’s also the fact that Diabetes and Obesity are risk factors for a bad covid outcome and poverty is a risk factor for developing them. And of course, simple nutritional deficiencies such as Zinc or Vitamin D can be disastrous in a covid patient. Again, poverty is a risk factor for these deficiences.
Could it be that we are focussing our attention on lockdowns and vaccines at the expense of dealing with some of the uncomfortable truths that covid highlights?
Unfortunately, instead of trying to change the poor conditions many people are forced to live in, we are actually making the situation worse. One assessment from the United Nations University states:
‘…the economic fallout from the global pandemic could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people, or 8% of the total human population.’ – https://unu.edu/media-relations/releases/covid-19-fallout-could-push-half-a-billion-people-into-poverty-in-developing-countries.html
Of course there are many predictions and statistics of what has happened so far. They vary in their level of urgency, but the bottom line is, we’re taking a key cause of the deaths related to covid-19 and we’re making it worse with our lockdowns and social distancing. We’re also spending a truly mind blowing amount of money on vaccines rather than spending it on sorting out poverty and other cause factors.
Citizens need to be informed about the reality of what is happening here. In our desperation to avoid deaths and crowded/overflowing hospitals from one single virus, we are sleepwalking into making this virus and many other negative health and social conditions far far worse.