Poverty 'substantial factor' in spread of COVID-19 -EU study

Low level of schooling has effect on contagion - ESPON

(ANSA) - BRUSSELS, MAY 12 - Poverty is "a substantial factor" in the geographical spread of COVID-19 in many regions of Italy, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, according to the results of a new study conducted as part of the ESPON programme, which specialises in research into EU regional policy.
    The study maps out the spread of the pandemic in Europe and explains its development in the light of a series of indicators that describe the socio-economic situation, from the level of urbanization to the quality of health services and local governance and life expectancy, which "seems to have affected the seriousness of the pandemic, especially in Portuguese and Spanish regions and, to a lesser degree, in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden".
    Poverty was among the factors too.
    The research highlighted how, above all, a low level of schooling influences the transmissibility of the virus.
    "Poor people with a low level education probably have a low level of health literacy," the researchers wrote, citing a study on the importance of comprehension of social responsibility in relation to the respect of the measures imposed to contain the pandemic, such as social distancing.
    All these factors help to explain why, even though the pandemic is "global", it "took on the form of intense local epidemics".
    This also led to "significant consequences for the management of the crisis and the political response".
    This evidence led the researchers to recommend the strengthening of "the local dimension of public health policy" and a "polycentric organization of access to health services" that is able to tackle inequality in access to care. (ANSA).


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