The Inequalities of COVID-19: The Strong Impact on Social Minorities

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Alessandro Pascon Filho, a Second year student at the Faculty of Health Sciences of Barretos Dr. Paulo Prata – FACISB, Brazil. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The COVID-19 infection has been haunting humanity since its outbreak in 2020, however, it has not homogeneously affected all minorities and people, due to multiple factors that corroborate and define the general state of health of patients.

Since the beginning of epidemiological studies, science has been able to verify the heterogeneous affection of different ethnic-racial groups, such as hypertension, which affects more fiercely – approximately 30% – the black population more than the white population.

Such disparities can be understood according to exogenous actions, such as the concentration of income, retained mostly in the hands of whites, which, consequently, also reflects greater access to health, education, and protective measures, including protective masks.

It is undoubted that income inequality also generates greater occupational exposure to risk, for example, since data suggest that the pandemic affected health professionals differently, essentially from a perspective, as well as outside the backstage of the health system, that inequalities already existing among health workers, essentially only exacerbated by the pandemic, reproducing a microcosm of the current world.

It is also important to point out that the living conditions of minority groups also affected the impact percentage of Sars-COV-2, since, according to a study “Communities with higher racial and ethnic minority populations have higher housing density, more housing insecurity […] which makes social distancing harder” (Bambino et al.)

Therefore, it is vital that the government not only undertake actions to contain the contagion but also broadly understand the concept of health. Providing equitable, rather than equal, access is key so that not only the well-off have significantly higher chances against COVID-19, but also that minorities are not forgotten and neglected by overt necropolitics.

Above all, providing equity is, without a doubt, providing dignity and minimum conditions for survival.

References

Bambino, Don, et al. The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the United States.

Magri, Giordano, et al. “Inequality in the Middle of a Crisis: An Analysis of Health Workers during the COVID-19 Pandemic from the Profession, Race, and Gender Perspectives.” Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, vol. 27, no. 11, Nov. 2022, pp. 4131–4144, 10.1590/1413-812320222711.01992022en. Accessed 23 Dec. 2022.

Nadruz, Wilson, et al. “Racial Disparities in Risks of Stroke.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 376, no. 21, 25 May 2017, pp. 2089–2090, 10.1056/nejmc1616085. Accessed 4 July 2021.

About the author

Alessandro Pascon Filho is a Second year student at the Faculty of Health Sciences of Barretos Dr. Paulo Prata – FACISB. Director of the Pense Positivo Project, focused on providing comprehensive care for PLHIV and understanding the epidemiological patterns of HIV infection. Assists as Regional Assistant of the Scientific Team on IFMSA Brazil and works as Research Director of the Medicina Solidária Project – PAP Social.

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