3 Social Lessons of the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis has shaken the world and highlighted three societal issues that urgently need to be taken into account, especially during the next pandemic.

After two years of a pandemic and at a time when the French government is easing existing health measures, scientists from around the world have shared the main lessons to be learned from the Covid-19 crisis. Science and the future summarizes it in three episodes:

1/ Lessons scientists
2/ Lessons medical
3/ Lessons social

Crises reveal inequality in the West…

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world, exposing a range of social, economic and health inequalities, notes Rupali Limaye in Scientific American. “Covid actually brought them to the surface.

WOMEN. Diseases and their control have had a detrimental — and often disproportionate — impact on the economic security, health, well-being, protection and empowerment of women and girls, according to an international team of researchers in The science. They report that a 40-country study found that women were more likely to stop working between April and June 2020 than men (36% versus 28%). Similarly, a study in 46 countries in June and July 2020 found that girls were more likely than boys to report an increase in housework (63% versus 43%).

UNRELIABLE. “To work from home, you must have work that you can do at home on your computer.“, notes Dr. Manisha Jootani, an infectious disease specialist at Yale Medicine in Yale magazine. It is therefore impossible for many occupations of contact, care or maintenance. Seine-Saint-Denis, for example, is the Île-de-France department with the highest proportion of couriers, cashiers and hospital workers, and the second-highest number of nursing assistants, according to INED. Another factor: housing, as the area is home to 6,802 people per km², more than 64 times the French average density. As a result, in Seine-Saint-Denis, the death rate in 2020 was 130% higher than in 2019.

…and in developing countries

Low- and middle-income countries face significant barriers to obtaining and distributing vaccine doses, laments Gagandeep Kang, a microbiologist and virologist, in The science. Thus, in India, the proportion of people immunized rose from 20% in January 2021 to 67% in July almost exclusively due to infection, as the supply of vaccines was “limited” until July. Another example is in Sierra Leone, where a trip to a vaccination center from the countryside costs an average of 5.5 euros and 1.5 hours, in a country where more than 56% of the population lives on less than 1 euro a day, researchers report in the same report. Journal. In Africa, other infectious diseases such as Ebola and HIV also display stark inequalities.

Fighting disinformation is essential

“With every infectious disease emergency, there has always been misinformation.” says Dr. Amesh Adalya, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University, in Scientific American. In particular, he cites radio statements from the 1940s that “there would be children in body bags if they were vaccinated against polio“. The difference today is on the Internet.”which is much faster than radio, print, or just pamphlets. And it’s really hard to fight“. According to the California team, the more conspiracy theories develop on certain social networks (Reddit and 4Chan), the more they are mentioned in mainstream media, the more they spread and the more their stories evolve in line with the news. For example, a virus would be alternately created in a Chinese, French (Institut Pasteur), American, or Canadian laboratory. The researchers also showed that depression makes people more likely to engage in conspiracy theories.

Anti-scientific sentiment began to grow.“, notes Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious agent specialist at Columbia University, in Scientific American. “Science (…) became another type of information that experts, politicians, policy makers or businesses could use to shape their agenda.“As science developed, so did public policy.”We see progress in this as scientists. I think the public sees this as scientists who don’t understand what they’re doing.‘ laments public health communications expert Rupali Limaye in Scientific American. “This has led to distrust in health systems, which has also affected the use of vaccines.“. Mistrust, which has consequences, in particular, for the health of children.

The good news, however, is that the public can still learn. In the United States, 85% of the population said they wear a mask every day when they go to public places where they “could meet other peoples”, up from 79% during the previous wave, according to a December 2021 study. The key for Rupali Limaye is “s”press different messengers“. It could be community leaders.”that are not necessarily related to public health or the healthcare system“. Finally, teaching young people about science would make them more receptive to it.

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