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Aging, care, and isolation in the time of covid-19.
In this article, we focus on how the proxemics of the pandemic affect people with chronic conditions, including the impact of changed norms of engagement for self-care and chronic disease management for individuals and households. Among older people, COVID-19 can both directly and indirectly increase their isolation, load onto existing health problems, and add to the risks of depression and anxiety. While there is excess mortality among older people from COVID-19, the concomitant accumulating social and physical effects of changes to everyday lives may equally contribute to untimely death. With the spread of coronavirus, there has been growing concern for the vulnerability of older people to serious diseases for both biological and social reasons. Emerging data suggest that COVID-19 deaths and other acute conditions are increasingly unrelated to the virus itself, but born out of its social consequences (Delmas, Bouisset, and Lairez 2020; Manderson and Wahlberg 2020). There is concern regarding increasing suicides and (often interconnected) problems of gender-based violence and alcohol misuse (Al-Ali 2020; Gratz et al. 2020; Ramalho 2020; Troutman-Jordan and Kazemi 2020). The aptly named ‘broken heart syndrome’– stress cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy – is also reported to have increased since the start of the pandemic, with the primary risk factor being age, along with anxiety and/or depression (Alharthy et al. 2020; Giustino et al. 2020; Jabri et al. 2020; Sattar et al. 2020). Well into the pandemic, we now need to consider its continuing direct and indirect effects on people’s lives.
Gender Matters: A Gender Analysis of HealthcareWorkers’ Experiences during the First COVID-19 Pandemic Peak in England.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) in February 2020, placing an unprecedented burden on the National Health Service (NHS). Literature from past epidemics and the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of using a gender lens when considering policy, experiences, and impacts of the disease. Researchers are increasingly examining the experiences of healthcare workers (HCWs), yet there is a dearth of research considering how gender shapes HCWs’ personal experiences. As the majority of HCWs in the UK and worldwide are women, research that investigates gender and focuses on women’s experiences is urgently needed. We conducted an analysis of 41 qualitative interviews with HCWs in the British NHS during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020. Our findings demonstrate that gender is significant when understanding the experiences of HCWs during COVID-19 as it illuminates ingrained inequalities and asymmetrical power relations, gendered organizational structures and norms, and individual gendered bodies that interact to shape experiences of healthcare workers. These findings point to important steps to improve gender equality, the wellbeing of healthcare workers, and the overall strength of the NHS.
The structural vulnerability of healthcare workers during COVID-19: Observations on the social context of risk and the equitable distribution of resources
Healthcare workers have emerged as a vulnerable population group during COVID-19, and securing supply chains of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been identified as a critical issue to protect healthcare workers and to prevent health system overwhelm. While securing PPE is a complex logistical challenge facing many countries, it is vital to recognise the social and health systems issues that structure the differential degrees of risk faced by various subgroups of healthcare workers. As an illustrative case study, the author identifies two key social factors that are likely to face the degrees of risk faced by midwives in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, if and when COVID-19 takes hold in Indonesia. Healthcare workers in both high and low resource-settings globally are likely to face particular risks and vulnerabilities that are shaped by localized social and health systems factors. Qualitative social and health systems research can and should be utilized proactively in order to protect healthcare workers, to inform more equitable program design, and to create a foundation for health equity within the future of global health that emerges from the pandemic.
A note on language
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No
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