Covid cases follow hardship, unemployment

4 minute read

And a toddler who was ‘previously well’ has died from covid in a Sydney hospital.

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Unemployment, lower household income, lower education levels and increasing housing density were all associated with higher incidence of covid in Victoria during the first wave in 2020, according to Australian research.
A paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia examined sociodemographic factors associated with the nearly 15,500 SARS-CoV-2 infections reported between 1 March and 13 August 2020.
Infection rates were higher in metropolitan areas than regional, in postcodes with higher average age than those with a younger population, and in those with a higher proportion of people of working age who had not completed Year 10.
Areas with greater household stress – measured by the percentage of household income spent on mortgage or rent payments – had a higher incidence of covid, and higher levels of unemployment were also associated with higher covid infection rates.
Covid rates also increased with the proportion of the population speaking a language other than English at home, and in regional areas it was higher in areas with a greater number of residents born overseas.
The study found that while infection rates increased in metropolitan areas with the proportion of the population who were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, in regional areas the opposite effect was seen – infection rates were inversely associated with the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Policies and health care reform that take social and economic inequalities into account could mitigate future waves of covid-19, help target vaccination programs to people at particular risk, better prepare Australia for future pandemics, and improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians, wherever they live,” the authors wrote.

A two-year-old child with no risk factors for severe disease has died of covid in Sydney.
NSW said the child was “previously well”. The death was one of four from covid in NSW on Monday, with the other three being in their 70s, 80s and 90s, all double-vaccinated.

Who is at risk of severe covid illness? The National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has released a risk classification tool for adults with mild to moderate covid, to help clinicians work out which are at the highest risk of severe disease.
The flowchart takes into account factors such as age, ethnicity, vaccination status, comorbidities and immunocompromise to identify those who are most likely to benefit from treatment to prevent disease progression.

The risk of myocarditis after Pfizer vaccine appears to be lower after the third dose than after the second dose, according to new data published in JAMA.
A study of the incidence of myocarditis in a cohort of just over 126,000 Israeli military personnel – most of whom were aged 18-24 years – given their third dose of mRNA vaccine found the overall incidence at one week after vaccination was 3.17 cases per 100,000 vaccines given, and at two weeks after vaccination was 5.55 per 100,000.
By comparison, the overall rate one week after the second dose of vaccine was 5.07 per 100,000 vaccines.
All cases occurred in young men, where the specific incidence was 6.43 cases per 100,000 vaccines at one week after vaccination, and 11.25 cases per 100,000 at two weeks.

Alcohol-related deaths increased during the first year of the pandemic in the US, research suggests.
A paper in JAMA reports the significant increase in deaths where alcohol was listed as the underlying or contributing cause of death, from 2.8% of all deaths in 2019 to 3% in 2020. Overall, the total number of alcohol-related deaths increased by just over 25%, compared to a 16.6% increase in all-cause mortality from 2019 to 2020.
“Increased drinking to cope with pandemic-related stressors, shifting alcohol policies, and disrupted treatment access are all possible contributing factors,” the authors wrote.

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