The world is facing a health crisis globally, a first of its kind. With widespread human suffering it is killing people and upending lives. COVID 19, the novel coronavirus disease characterized as a pandemic, has attacked societies at the core. The outbreak affects all strata of the human population, particularly disastrous for members of vulnerable social groups, including those living in poverty, older people, or those with disabilities, as well as the youth and indigenous people.
However, the economic and health impacts of the coronavirus are borne primarily by the poor. For example, the homeless, refugees, migrants, or displaced people bear the maximum brunt due to the inability to shelter themselves from exposure to the virus, limited movements, increased xenophobia, and fewer employment opportunities.
To avoid increased inequality, discrimination, exclusion, and global unemployment in the long term, this social crisis created by the pandemic needs to get adequately addressed through planning and policy. An all-inclusive social protective mechanism plays a role in effectively safeguarding the interest of workers and reducing the occurrence of poverty. At the same time, it also works as a safety valve, providing essential income security and enhancing the capacity of the people to overcome economic shocks. According to a recent poll by MyBioSource, around 43% of people in Alaska supportCovid measures.
- Impact on older persons
The elderly are at a greater risk of getting infected with the coronavirus, and those suffering from chronic health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are even more susceptible to infection. Additionally, they are also less likely to be able to support themselves when in isolation. Social distancing, though a necessary measure, if incorrectly implemented, might also lead to the social isolation of older people at a time when these people need support the most.
COVID-19, perceived as a disease of the old, has led to negative stereotypes of older persons being weak and a burden to society. Such discrimination might manifest itself in the provision of services; i.e., the treatment of the younger generation may get perceived to hold more value than older persons. In this regard, an understanding and solidarity between the ages to combat discrimination and uphold everyone’s right to health, access to information, medical services, and care are essential.
- Influence on the disabled
Persons with disabilities face enough challenges when accessing health care services. It is because of a lack of availability, affordability, and accessibility, as well as discrimination and stigma. Preexisting health conditions often leave them more prone to developing severe illnesses or, worse, dying, being excluded from mainstream health provisions.
Preventive measures against COVID-19, including general individual self-care, can pose a tremendous challenge for persons with disabilities. For example, some disabled persons might find it difficult to maintain personal hygiene or clean surfaces and wash hands frequently because of physical impairments or environmental barriers. These people require regular support and additional help from others for everyday tasks.
To solve this problem, healthcare facilities must be easily accessible to people with sensory, mobility, and cognitive impairments while also ensuring that there is no denial of healthcare services to such people due to financial barriers.
- Effect on the youth
The youth of the society are critical to limiting the spread of the virus. It also curtailed the impact on public health and the economy. It is an understood fact that the pandemic has affected the employment rate at large, leaving the youth disproportionately employed. There has also been a massive disruption in learning and education due to the closure of schools and universities. Most vulnerable are those in precarious situations, being migrants and homeless.
- Impact on family
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected families across cultures to a great extent and continues to negatively hamper the home environment due to a variety of factors. It is now a topic of an international research study.
- Impact on indigenous people
The first point of prevention is disseminating information in a language understood by the indigenous people and ensuring that facilities and services are particularly appropriate for these people. A significantly high rate of communicable and non-communicable diseases combined with a lack of access to essential services, absence of culturally appropriate healthcare, and not overburdened lack of sufficient equipment or understaffing makes indigenous people most vulnerable.
Income dependency on the broader economy, i.e., tourism, handicrafts, and jobs in urban areas, mainly contributes to their vulnerability. The government’s financial support measures must include vulnerable groups and indigenous people.
- Impact on sports that promote peace and development
The COVID-19 pandemic, since its onset, has forced people to adopt social distancing measures, lockdowns, and closure of schools, businesses, and overall social life. Some steps that helped curtail the spread of infection have disrupted several regular aspects of life, including sports and physical activity. Major sporting events are postponed or canceled to safeguard the health of athletes and participants. Sports have been a significant contributor to social as well as economic development.
Keeping all that has been said above in mind, one must remember that it is a time to respond and step up for the vulnerable in every possible way.