Impact of Social Determinants Of Health (SDOH) on COVID-19

Social Determinants Of Health

When you’re in the middle of a crisis like we are now with the coronavirus, it does…ultimately shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society.” — Anthony Fauci, Director of the U.S.National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, and the Chief Medical Adviser to the president Joe Biden.

The social determinants of health (SDOH)

The five social determinants of health domains encompass economic stability, education access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context. It is a situation in which one is born, rises, lives, works, and ages. The American Medical Association (AMA) states that as the poverty level increases, the percentage of adults who are 25 years and older with an activity-limiting chronic disease has high chances of being vulnerable to the same.

The lower the individuals are on the spectrum of SDOH, the poorer health outcomes they face. The five socioeconomic Factors are interrelated and played a major role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, the educational level can affect one’s occupation, determining economic stability and income level, which can influence their healthcare level and which neighborhood the person is eligible to live in, which, in turn, can affect the social and community context of the individual. These have an important role in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Health literacy is defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as “the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions. Low health literacy, particularly during times of pandemics, is associated with poorer health outcomes.

Air quality, water quality, pollution, housing, and access to green space, and its impact on the health of the marginalized section of society can all be discussed under the neighborhood and built environment domain of the SDOH section.

Unfair or unjustified socially structured Discrimination occurs at both the individual and structural level in health care. Negative interactions based on race, gender, etc., between a patient and a health care provider, may limit the patient’s health care resources and well-being.

Effects of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) on COVID-19 in the U.S

Crowded living conditions and multigenerational households, Work-related exposure, Use of public transportation to get to work, and the lack of adequate personal protective equipment, or instructions on how to use them properly, are more common among low-income earners associated with their socioeconomic status.

A 2020 survey of seven U.S. states and 67,610 patients who tested positive for one or more COVID-19 symptoms has shown the possibility of receiving the same.

However, the confirmatory test for African Americans is less than their white peers, with equivalent symptoms.

The emphasis must be on addressing the problem to support affected groups in a health emergency. Studying the social determinants of health (SDOH) and how they influence vulnerable communities in crisis periods can allow policymakers to handle health crises better so that each individual has the same chances of remaining well.

Covid – 19 is not merely a healthcare problem but more of a social problem too. All should have equal opportunity to remain well, regardless of their race, colors, and creeds. The unfair disparities will be reduced socially and economically by including the concepts of SDOH to help deter disease spread and address health care as a whole. The immediate requirements include correct and informative national race, ethnicity, and SDOH data collection and reporting. Further support for low-income households, such as the stimulus check, must be provided, especially in epidemic outbreaks. This section of the population is most vulnerable and at risk for serious disease.

How we respond in times of crisis when a bright light accentuates systemic inequities and opportunities to eliminate them tells the road ahead.