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1.
Med Anthropol Q ; 34(4): 488-503, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-957863

ABSTRACT

To date, the strongest predictor for dying with COVID-19 is suffering from several chronic disorders prior to the viral infection. Pre-existing multimorbidity is highly correlated with socioeconomic inequality. In turn, having several chronic conditions is closely linked to multiple medication intake, especially in richer countries with good access to biomedical care. Owing to its vertical structure, biomedicine often risks giving multiple treatments in an uncoordinated way. Such lack of integrated care can create complex forms of iatrogenic harm. Multimorbidity is often exacerbated by a pharmaceuticalization of social deprivation in place of integrated care. In this article, I explore the possibility that clusters of over-medication are a contributing factor to higher death rates from COVID-19, especially in poorer areas within richer countries. Anthropological perspectives on the social embeddedness of multimorbidity and multiple medication use can expand our understanding of who is most vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/mortality , Multimorbidity , SARS-CoV-2 , Anthropology, Medical , Chronic Disease , Coinfection , Female , Humans , Male , Models, Biological , Polypharmacy , Socioeconomic Factors
2.
ProQuest Central; 2020.
Preprint in English | ProQuest Central | ID: ppcovidwho-2112

ABSTRACT

We argue that predictions of a ‘tsunami’ of mental health problems as a consequence of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the lockdown are overstated;feelings of anxiety and sadness are entirely normal reactions to difficult circumstances, not symptoms of poor mental health. Some people will need specialised mental health support, especially those already leading tough lives;we need immediate reversal of years of underfunding of community mental health services. However, the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on the most disadvantaged, especially BAME people placed at risk by their social and economic conditions, were entirely predictable. Mental health is best ensured by urgently rebuilding the social and economic supports stripped away over the last decade. Governments must pumfunds into local authorities to rebuild community services, peer support, mutual aid and local community and voluntary sector organisations. Health care organisations must tackle racism and discrimination to ensure genuine equal access to universal health care. Government must replace highly conditional benefit systems by something like a universal basic income. All economic and social policies must be subjected to a legally binding mental health audit. This may sound unfeasibly expensive, but the social and economic costs, not to mention the costs in personal and community suffering, though often invisible, are far greater.

3.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 166, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-657527

ABSTRACT

We argue that predictions of a 'tsunami' of mental health problems as a consequence of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the lockdown are overstated; feelings of anxiety and sadness are entirely normal reactions to difficult circumstances, not symptoms of poor mental health.  Some people will need specialised mental health support, especially those already leading tough lives; we need immediate reversal of years of underfunding of community mental health services.  However, the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on the most disadvantaged, especially BAME people placed at risk by their social and economic conditions, were entirely predictable. Mental health is best ensured by urgently rebuilding the social and economic supports stripped away over the last decade. Governments must pump funds into local authorities to rebuild community services, peer support, mutual aid and local community and voluntary sector organisations.  Health care organisations must tackle racism and discrimination to ensure genuine equal access to universal health care.  Government must replace highly conditional benefit systems by something like a universal basic income. All economic and social policies must be subjected to a legally binding mental health audit. This may sound unfeasibly expensive, but the social and economic costs, not to mention the costs in personal and community suffering, though often invisible, are far greater.

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