COVID-19 testing

COVID-19 Testing Inequalities

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic was a rude shock that the world is yet to get over. The impact of this pandemic on the UK has been immense. Efforts have been made to make vaccines and opportunities for cheap Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests available in the UK, as well as in other countries of the world, through testing within communities and testing before and after travel. There is no doubt that this has assisted in reducing the spread of the virus. But, despite all efforts, there are apparent differences in the availability of testing in specific communities in the UK. It is not so surprising that the groups affected the most by the pandemic have the least access to the COVID-19 testing. While private businesses and schools introduced testing for their employees and students, small businesses and public schools have no choice but to depend on the state

Despite being talked about for so long, health care and health inequalities have continued and, in certain instances, worsened over time. In the UK, the Coronavirus pandemic increased the already high death toll, causing further difficulties for those already experiencing health inequalities. Northern England suffered the most during the Coronavirus pandemic as they had the most increased death and infection rates within the UK.

Health inequalities, especially those related to the COVID-19 testing, all have underlying factors that cause them. These factors include education, employment, socioeconomic status, social support systems, physical environment, race, and access to good healthcare. So, it is clear that social factors that determine health are the main health drivers. For example, a child born into a family with little or no education will probably live in a neighbourhood that is not so healthy.

For immigrants in the country, as important as healthcare is, they are more concerned about getting deported and the stigma that comes with it. Limited English Language Proficiency (LEP) can be a challenge because it can disrupt communication about the transmission of the virus. Also, they can be more vulnerable to exposure as a good number of them are essential workers. They should have access to the cheap PCR tests and possibly have their home test kits.

There are uninsured people in the UK, both elderly and non-elderly. Most of them have low-income jobs. They should be granted COVID-19 home visit tests, especially the elderly ones among them. People of colour among them seem to have more difficulty getting tested than white people. The impact of the pandemic on black people and other people of colour in London reflects the racial inequality in health.

The population of homeless people is just a clear display of health inequality in the UK. These are some of the people supposed to be of priority but are neglected. With no access to cheap PCR tests, the infection rate within this group keeps increasing.

It is pretty interesting to see that many of these groups that have been affected the most by the pandemic have not only little or no access to COVID-19 testing, but also they are hesitant to go for tests or even receive vaccines when they are finally made available to them. This hesitance is due to bad experiences people from these groups might have had and continue to have, so they are wary of medical professionals.

The impact of the Coronavirus in the UK and the measures that have been put in place to reduce the spread have and will continue to have an effect on these groups on different levels.

The governments in the UK have the opportunity to take deliberate and precise action to reduce or curb the impact of the pandemic on these socially disadvantaged groups that are susceptible to the COVID-19 virus. The governments should make testing available across all states in the country. People of these socially disadvantaged groups should also be more included in decisions to improve trust in the medical system. If all these measures are taken, it will be a significant step towards socio economic recovery.