Public health leaders have called for greater support for those affected with long Covid, warning that the surge in cases risks exacerbating existing health inequalities between rich and poor.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Local Government Association, they noted that, just as those from poorer backgrounds suffered a disproportionately high number of Covid infections, many of those affected by long Covid also came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Dr Aiden Fowler, the national director of patient safety in England, said:
Because there is the highest prevalence in areas of deprivation, long Covid has the potential to worsen the health and wider socioeconomic inequalities that already occur, which could prove a challenge for local authorities.
Dr Dagmar Zeuner, the director of public health in the London borough of Merton, added that people working in occupations that brought them into contact with infected individuals, and who had little control over their environment, had already borne the brunt of infections. She said: “Now, these are also the ones that carry the burden of long Covid, so they are suffering to keep their jobs.”
Yet, they were not necessarily getting equal access to the long Covid clinics set up to help rehabilitate them. Zeuner said:
The people we are see now coming through are not mirroring those communities that are hit hardest.
We should unashamedly say that the main challenge and also the main opportunity is that we really use this new condition to focus on equity. We all want to reduce inequality, and these have been desperately exacerbated by Covid.
Their comments echo the findings of a report published last year, which suggested towns in north-west England were facing a growing health and economic crisis due to high numbers of long Covid cases.
at 1.06pm EST
The risk of a hard landing for large parts of the global economy is rising as countries struggle to cope with the triple threat of Covid-19, inflation and higher interest rates, the World Bank has warned.
In its half-yearly forecasts, the Washington DC-based Bank said it expected a “pronounced slowdown” in growth in the next two years, with the less well-off parts of the world especially hard hit.
David Malpass, the World Bank’s president, called for action to reduce the debts of poor countries and said he was “very worried” about the permanent scarring of development caused by the pandemic.
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Restrictions on large outdoor events in Scotland will be lifted from next Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has told the Holyrood parliament.
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The US has recorded a record number of hospitalisations due to Covid-19, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services as the daily infection rate soared to more than 1.35m.
According to Reuters there were 1.35m new Covid infections on Monday, also a record high. Measures vary and observers point out that many home tests are not officially logged. But NBC News reported at least 1,343,167 new infections.
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at 12.13pm EST