These same people are also more likely to have chronic conditions, which are characterized by the global burden of disease – due to poverty, lack of universal health care, lack of access to better food and the public health system, which is estimated that is not supported. , worth $ 4.5 billion before COVID-19 was even a twinkle in the bat’s eye. “Your risk of dying if you have no comorbidities is less than 0.1 percent,” says Galea. “People with lower socio-economic status and people of color had a higher risk. In some respects, it’s that simple. “
To paraphrase a famous book, it’s incredibly nice. The virus that causes COVID-19 would always be deadly. But fewer people in poverty, fewer people with conditions that turned out to be dangerous comorbidities, and a better health care system that focuses on prevention rather than treatment with magic balls would mean that the same deadly the virus would kill fewer people. “Why did COVID become the problem it started with?” Galeya asks. “First, we have historically underinvested in the health care systems needed to actually maintain health. Secondly, we have not invested enough in the social and economic conditions that create a healthy world. “
And the catch becomes more catchy. Earlier this week in an article in Journal of the American Medical Association, two Harvard economists estimate that all deaths and illnesses from COVID-19 to date, as well as those likely to occur by mid-2021, combined with economic losses, mental anguish and loss of output, will be one an impressive number: 16 trillion dollars. This is about 90 percent of the annual gross domestic product of the United States. “For a family of four, the expected loss is almost $ 200,000,” economists write. “Approximately half of this amount is lost revenue from the recession caused by COVID-19; the rest are the economic consequences of a shorter and less healthy life. “
Even what the burden is shared unfairly. “By closing the economy, we are harming the poor and people of color more economically than by keeping them open,” said Alan Krupnik, an economist and senior researcher at Resources for the Future. “But you can’t open an economy until people have a reasonable expectation that they will be safe when they go to a restaurant, a bar or go to work. First, we need to take care of the disease so that the economy can prosper. “This is the effect of income, and it creates a feedback loop. means that they have to take more risks for financial survival … which makes their comorbidities potentially more dangerous.
Some researchers describe COVID-19 not as a pandemic but as a “syndem” synergistic epidemic related overlapping problems, each of which worsens the others. It is bad. But on the bright side, the syndem offers more opportunities. Expensive drugs and accelerated vaccine trials are those long shots that you will have to rely on only if you (or your government) have not provided tedious public health in the foreground. The report on the global burden of disease quietly hints that it is not too late. Especially for COVID-19, it will be the exchange of messages about wearing masks, finding out how to apply large-scale improvements in ventilation systems and getting help for people to stay at home. It all worked in Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and even Wuhan. It can work here. But GBD figures show how to build a system that can handle all other problems, including infectious surprises such as SARS-CoV-2. And this same system will make the world happier, healthier – one that is tough enough to get rid of SARS-CoV-3 someday.
This story first appeared on wired.com.