COVID-19 Has Exposed and Amplified Existing Inequalities
It was a very interesting hour listening to experts from The Health Foundation discuss health inequality on Monday- at Your Back Yard we’ve got our ears on the ground to hear more from their inquiry into the pandemics impacts.
The seminar explored how all of society has been affected. But the most interesting (and worrying) information was their data on subsections of the population. As with most things, it seems that inequality has fed into the story of COVID-19.
Young people was one of the subsections explored. The past 6 months has seen them have the worst outcomes in terms of mental health decline, job loss, private space loss and damaged friendships. That’s not to mention the impact that closing schools and universities will inevitably have on educational outcomes.
The Health Foundation also explored how BAME individuals were bearing some of the worst outcomes in terms of health, finding that they were twice as likely to die from the virus- even after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. Interesting potential explanations were raised: a lack of vitamin D due to more difficulty absorbing it from the sun, as well as negative physiological effects induced by stress from racism.
Most relevant to our work is the research being done to uncover how deprivation has impacted outcomes. Here’s a summary of what we learnt on this:
It should be around June next year that The Health Foundation releases their findings from their inquiry. We hope they shed light on how the pandemic affected health and inequality, and how best the government and society should respond to the fall out.
In the meantime, at Your Back Yard we’re going to continue to focus our efforts working in communities in the bottom 20% according to the Index of Deprivation. One of the biggest takeaways from the session was how much social and economic factors are strong drivers of long term health. So for now we’ll continue improving communities and their facilities, as seems the best option in terms of a grassroots solution to tackling the disparities in health outcomes.
If you’re interested in The Health Foundations Inquiry, you can follow their updates here: https://bit.ly/2I72xZ5