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Why have some places suffered more covid-19 deaths than others?

NSEVENTEEN MONTHS We’ve fallen into a covid-19 pandemic, but many questions about the catastrophe remain unanswered.How still unknown SARSNSo oV-2 has occurred, for example. Another puzzle is why some areas are less disruptive than others. Why did Florida have fewer per capita deaths from covid-19 than the US average, despite the longer restrictions being relaxed? But researchers are approaching “magical” variables. This is the most useful factor in explaining the variability of viral mortality. It turns out that this has little to do with health measures, climate and geography. Instead, it is related to economics.

According to the vast literature on covid-19 infection and mortality determinants, many widely assumed relationships do not always hold in the real world. Everyone knows that old people are at greatest risk. However, in Japan, where 28% of the world’s 9% are 65 or older, the death toll has been significantly lower so far. Some studies suggest that places where the flu season was bad before the pandemic have not suffered much since then. But other researchers have questioned that conclusion. There is no consistent correlation between the severity of the blockade and the incident or death.

Faced with these amazing consequences, hunting has begun, which is as morbid as it is a nerd. Wonks is looking for less obvious variables to explain the variability in death due to covid-19. And so far, the most powerful of all of them is inequality. It is usually measured as the Gini coefficient. Where zero represents perfect equality and 1 represents perfect inequality.

In a recent exercise, data scientist Youyang Gu ran multiple versions of the model aimed at finding correlations between 41 different variables and US state-level mortality from covid-19. He believes that there are only three variables that “consistently have non-zero coefficients”. It is inequality, population density, and per capita nursing home resident. And of these three, inequality has the greatest impact.

Looking around the world, Gu seems to be working on something. Deaths from covid-19 were less in egalitarian Scandinavia (even in Sweden, with few restrictions imposed) than in Europe as a whole. France, which has a Gini coefficient of 0.29, shows a much lower mortality rate than the neighboring United Kingdom, which has a Gini coefficient of 0.34. New York State has very high inequality and 19 deaths. Florida is not so exceptional in both respects.

Few other researchers rank variables like Gu. Nonetheless, a survey of dozens of treatises investigating the determinants of tolls from covid-19 found that inequality was consistently highly explanatory. A recent study by Frank Elgar and colleagues at McGill University surveyed 84 countries and found that a 1% increase in the Gini coefficient increased mortality from covid-19 by 0.67%. The other is by Annabel Tan, Jessica Hinman, and Hoda Abdel Magid of Stanford University, examining counties in the United States. They found that the association between income inequality and covid-19 cases and mortality changed through 2020, but was generally positive. Higher inequality tends to lead to more suffering.

There is much less research on the potential reasons behind this intriguing relationship. Three plausible sounds. The first is about existing health. A 2016 study by Beth Truesdale and Christopher Jencks at Harvard University found “modest evidence” of the link between increasing income inequality and shortening life expectancy. This may be because economists call it a “dented” relationship between health and income. Giving extra income to rich women can improve their health rather than removing $ 1 from poor men. People who are in poor health tend to suffer from covid-19 (in fact, in some other studies, there is a link between inequality and existing conditions that can exacerbate illnesses such as obesity. there is).

The second potential factor is workplace relationships. Workers in relatively egalitarian countries tend to be more bargaining and may find it easy to communicate and correct concerns with their employers. This has its disadvantages, but it can help thwart practices that promote the spread of covid-19. In Sweden, a country with strong worker rights, front-line (or “essential”) workers, such as meat packers and police officers, die on covid-19 more than other workers on average. The risk of doing so is not high and may limit the whole thing. Number of deaths. This is in contrast to the deregulated results of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. A study in California found that people in one job were far more likely to die of covid-19 than people in other occupations. Chefs and taxi drivers have seen one of the biggest increases in mortality in 2020.

The third factor is related to social capital. In areas of high inequality, people tend to say they don’t trust strangers or have little interest in civic participation.Study published by IMF In 2016, the reason is suggested. Where people’s lifestyles are very different, they have little in common with each other. Weak social capital almost certainly discourages those who adhere to anti-virus measures with weak private incentives, such as self-isolation and mask obligations.

Opportunity for equality

There was already good reason to think that inequality was too great, at least in some countries. This is different. However, it is almost impossible to turn an income-distribution supertanker around overnight, and some solutions to income inequality, such as tax increases, offer their own trade-offs. Meanwhile, the government needs to coordinate its pandemic response to take inequality into account. This can be done, for example, by changing the financial incentive to stay home in the case of infectiousness (for example, by using self-isolation payments) or by investing more in the health of poor children to make them more Includes making a healthy adult. Without these improvements, high inequality could continue to mean greater vulnerability to pandemics. ■■

This article was published in the printed version of the Treasury and Economy section under the heading “Establishing Causes of Death.”

Why have some places suffered more covid-19 deaths than others? Source link Why have some places suffered more covid-19 deaths than others?

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