COVID19 has brought out the gaps in social determinants of health to the open. Viral infections combined with issues such as poverty, housing, access to care and paid leave, contribute to the spread of diseases.
As administrations around the world are looking to stop the spread of the virus primarily through social distancing, the disparities in SDOH have amplified manifold.
- Housing Instability
The homeless are at high risk to contradict the virus as they have nowhere to practice social distancing. People residing at shelters and low-income housing have similar circumstances, which will accelerate the spread of the virus.
- Food Insecurity
Many seniors either feel anxious about going to the stores, can’t afford to buy in bulk, or don’t have access to transportation. The situation has made it especially difficult and dangerous for low-income citizens who typically rely on group meals at senior centers.
- Access to healthcare
In rural areas, access to healthcare has been difficult for a long time. The pandemic has only escalated the issue for both individuals and senior citizens. Though telehealth is an alternative, areas with limited access to internet connectivity are still in the dark.
For the advancement of public health this reminds us that social determinants of health such as housing, poverty and access to care must be considered.