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  • Subject Name : Social Work

Pandemics: Risks, Impacts, and Mitigation

Introduction to Social Policy Area Prominent in the Media

Zarkov (2020: 1) stated that” Whoever said that Covid19 is a ’great equalizer’ - that it affects celebrities, heads of states and common people ’alike’ - is either brain-dead or privileged beyond belief, or both.” The COVID-19 pandemic is known as the decade's most serious public health disaster and the biggest threat mankind has faced since World War II (Chakraborty, and Maity, 2020). This disease has the unusual power to stimulate global health gaps, affecting economically vulnerable communities particularly include racial and ethnic minorities and low-income populations. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is being dubbed as "the great equalizer," from government leaders to mass media and even celebrities. It is an infection which surpasses wealth, fame, popularity, or age (Dickinson et al. 2020). The argument illustrates our weakness as part of a culture where the novel virus lacks any immunity. But it also assumes inaccurately that all will not be affected equally by it. History proved that won't be the case.

Summary of Social Policy Area Prominent in the Media

The author criticizes the fact that only a handful of people are threatening because of the big pandemic. Long-standing differences have put a greater percentage of ethnic and racial minority groups near to and below the poverty level to higher risk. Low-income people mostly work in the service sector doing work that diminishes their ability to work from homes and neglect holiday entitlement traditionally. They are often more generally low-income families, and more reliance on their family can make them maintaining work which puts them at a greater risk of COVID-19 infections. Unemployment is followed by a loss of employer-based health insurance which makes a community with an already reduced interest levels much more susceptible. The minorities racial and ethnic groups are at greater risk for increased severity of the disease. These issue needs to be understood better and governments of different countries can make social policy tacking such kind of issues for the minority groups.

Critique of Social Policy Area Prominent in the Media

The minority groups have higher rates of severe illness hospital admissions compared to non-minority groups during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. Similarly, minority groups both had higher all-cause mortality rates and influenza mortality rates relative to Caucasians during the 1918 "Spanish" influenza pandemic. The continuity of pandemic events across decades exposes fundamental underlying facts regarding health inequalities. The strength of study clearly depicts about ethnic and racial minorities are at a greater risk of COVID-19 contracting and suffer from worse consequences (Abuelgasim et al. 2020). Key methods to mitigate the transmission of a disease outbreak include early warning, verified case segregation, and social distancing. States around the nation have introduced shelter-in-place policies, forcing people to stay at home, and restricting non-essential facilities(Shadmi et al. 2020). Additionally, people who are sick are advised to quarantine at home if they are well enough to do the same. Although these measures are important to "flatten the curve" and the COVID-19 transmitting and the burden on medical facilities, the guidelines unintentionally damage the socially vulnerable (Nicola et al. 2020).

Low-income communities are much more likely to be living in cramped environments and rely on public transport, all of which hinder their ability to achieve social distance effectively(Madhav et al. 2017). Minority groups often use other languages more frequently, which impedes their ability to access knowledge and also delays treatment and reduces the level of care they receive. When infected, racial and ethnic groups are at greater risk for increased severity of the disease (Mein, 2020). Alternatively, the weakness for these groups lies in the government policy that eliminates all non - critical services contributes to high levels of unemployment in this society, as demonstrated by the recent drastic increase with first-time claims for unemployed. Comorbidities are well known to correlate with more serious influenza disease. Initial Chinese studies showed an identical trend with COVID-19. Higher mortality was all associated with hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, coronary artery disease, and chronic kidney disease. Previous epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown that many of these disorders in racial/ethnic minorities are more common, potentially leading to the worse health outcomes seen from COVID-19 (Sanders et al. 2020).

The latest pandemic highlights the health inequalities that still exist in our societies. Steps need to be taken to grasp this global situation better and to minimize the harm (Shekhar et al. 2020). Until recent times, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other governing bodies published minimally detailed demographic data about the racial/ethnic characteristics of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 (Laurencin and McClinton, 2020). Many people are now demanding more accountability around this issue, including those from the healthcare profession and also policymakers.As this data is more common, it has to be advantageous strategically to strengthen the treatment of these individuals (Alvi, Sivasankaran, and Singh, 2020). In particular, it will influence our resource distribution to ensure that COVID-19 is adequately screened and handled in space-limited settings with higher percentages of racial and ethnic minority populations.

Conclusion on Social Policy Area Prominent in the Media

The inequalities between people have long troubled all countries around the world, especially ethnic and racial minorities have been affected by it in a disproportion. COVID-19 shows signs of highlighting such inequalities already. Though COVID-19 puts everybody in this country under risk, it is not "NOT an equalizer," and this will continue to damage the economically vulnerable selectively. As a responsible human being, the individual must work to recognize and change the results for such a group of people. The governments can make policies specifically for the minorities so that these people do no get exploited in such situations.

References for Social Policy Area Prominent in the Media

Abuelgasim, E., Saw, L.J., Shirke, M., Zeinah, M. and Harky, A., 2020. COVID-19: Unique public health issues facing Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Current Problems in Cardiology, p.100621.

Alvi, M.M., Sivasankaran, S. and Singh, M., 2020. Pharmacological and non-pharmacological efforts at prevention, mitigation, and treatment for COVID-19. Journal of Drug Targeting, (just-accepted), pp.1-46.

Chakraborty, I. and Maity, P., 2020. COVID-19 outbreak: Migration, effects on society, global environment and prevention. Science of the Total Environment, p.138882.

Dickinson, H., Carey, G. and Kavanagh, A.M., 2020. Personalisation and pandemic: An unforeseen collision course?. Disability & Society, pp.1-6.

Laurencin, C.T. and McClinton, A., 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic: A call to action to identify and address racial and ethnic disparities. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, pp.1-5.

Madhav, N., Oppenheim, B., Gallivan, M., Mulembakani, P., Rubin, E. and Wolfe, N., 2017. Pandemics: Risks, impacts, and mitigation.

Mein, S.A., 2020. COVID-19 and Health Disparities: The Reality of “the Great Equalizer”. Journal of General Internal Medicine, p.1.

Nicola, M., Alsafi, Z., Sohrabi, C., Kerwan, A., Al-Jabir, A., Iosifidis, C., Agha, M. and Agha, R., 2020. The socio-economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19): A review. International Journal of Surgery (London, England)78, p.185.

Sanders, J.M., Monogue, M.L., Jodlowski, T.Z. and Cutrell, J.B., 2020. Pharmacologic treatments for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): A review. Jama323(18), pp.1824-1836.

Shadmi, E., Chen, Y., Dourado, I., Faran-Perach, I., Furler, J., Hangoma, P., Hanvoravongchai, P., Obando, C., Petrosyan, V., Rao, K.D. and Ruano, A.L., 2020. Health equity and COVID-19: Global perspectives. International Journal for Equity in Health19(1), pp.1-16.

Shekhar, S., Wurth, R., Kamilaris, C.D., Eisenhofer, G., Barrera, F.J., Hajdenberg, M., Tonleu, J., Hall, J.E., Schiffrin, E.L., Porter, F. and Stratakis, C.A., 2020. Endocrine Conditions and COVID-19. Hormone and Metabolic Research52(07), pp.471-484.

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