The Impact Of COVID-19 On Households: A Statistical Analysis
The coronavirus outbreak has presented an unprecedented global challenge with devastating economic and health impacts for households. However, growing evidence suggests that the severity of the impact of COVID-19 varies among different economies, regions, and income levels. Especially households in resource-limited, remote, and rural areas along with households in lower income countries may face severe and distinct challenges as they may have little or no access to medical and diagnostic services. Moreover, the economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 has caused many people to lose their source of income and pushed vulnerable populations further into extreme poverty. In these circumstances, the usage of rapid antigen tests for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 may offer accessible, easy, and fast detection as well as to set a successful strategy for curbing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
The Impact of COVID-19 On Households in Rural Area
Research demonstrates that rural households has been experiencing significant challenges regarding timely and safe access to healthcare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence suggests that the pandemic has had immense impact on healthcare delivery, resulting in significant delays in medical and diagnostic services. Indeed, during the outbreak, substantial share of rural households has reported that they could not book an appointment, find a doctor, travel to the location of care, or afford medical care altogether. Delays in and lack of access to care are particularly concerning for those living with chronic illness or those at high risk of developing severe illness from a SARS-COV-2 infection.
According to a US-based report, 24% of rural households has been unable to access to care for a major health issue, and 56% has consequently suffered adverse health consequences.
Specifically, 33% of households with individuals at high-risk for COVID-19 has reported that they could not access to care for a health issue and 61% of those has experienced negative health consequences as a result.
Similar data has been found for households with people living with chronic illness. 33% of these households’ report that anyone in their household has been unable to receive medical care for a serious problem and 60% of those report that their lack of access led to harmful health consequences.
Along with issues concerning access to medical and diagnostic services, many households in rural areas have also experienced major financial problems, with household members having significant reduction in their wages, losing their jobs, or losing their businesses. According to the report mentioned above, about 42% of households reported experiencing serious economic problems during the outbreak, and 43% reported that a member of the household lost their job, lost their businesses, been furloughed, or had wages or hours reduced.
The Impact of COVID-19 On Households in Lower-Income Countries
Several analyses demonstrate that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more severe in the lower-income countries compared to the rest of the world. During the pandemic, the lives of many households in lower income countries have been extensively affected by low health system capacity, poor quality healthcare, low rates of vaccination, along with the brunt of socioeconomic crisis.
One study has found that in lower-income countries, 42% of the total excess mortality was linked to lack of access to healthcare, while 58% was linked to the poor quality of healthcare services. This data may be explained by limited critical care capacity, healthcare resources, and an overall overburdened healthcare system. Indeed, A UNDP report involving the 20 most vulnerable countries in the world demonstrates that, on average, these countries would run out of ICU beds given that only 0.04% of their population gets actively infected. Similarly, resources for critical care provision such as mechanical ventilation, supplementary oxygen, and protective equipment are likely to be quickly overburdened with the upsurge in positive cases.
Along with overburdened healthcare capacities, lower-income countries are also challenged by chronically low rates of vaccination. Data shows that of 1.1 billion people living in the world’s least developed countries, only around 2% have been vaccinated. In 2021, more than 90% of the population in 67 low-income countries has had little or no access to vaccination against COVID-19.
Finally, the socioeconomic crisis triggered by the pandemic has dramatically affected the lives of those living in lower-income countries. On one hand, due to high socioeconomic costs protective measures such as social distancing could not be effectively implemented, resulting in higher social contact rates even for people at risk.
On the other hand, the pandemic has intensified the existing socioeconomic disparity. It has led to significant loss of income and unemployment for many people. Consequently, the economic crisis brought by the pandemic has caused a major cutback on the ability of people living in lower income countries to afford healthcare and basic needs. As people in lower income countries are increasingly being pushed into severe poverty, they are losing access to healthcare, proper sanitation, housing conditions, and adequate nutrition.
The Impact of COVID-19 On Household Incomes and Employment
The financial crisis triggered by COVID-19 has caused sharp declines in employment, income, and hours worked in many countries around the globe. According to a US-based report, around 46% of households has had one or more member who has lost their jobs, lost their business, or experienced losses in their wages or hours during the pandemic. Among these households, 68% has reported that they have experienced substantial financial difficulties. Moreover, 31% of all households reported that they have used all of their savings, 21% has reported that they have had substantial difficulty paying their credit card bills or loans, and 19% has reported that they have had major issues paying their mortgage or rent.
Although the financial impact of COVID-19 has been widespread; research shows that households in particular regions and income levels may be more severely affected than the rest. According to the data of International Labor Organization, Latin America and the Caribbean have experienced the most severe loss in income and hours. Throughout the first three quarters of 2020, the decline in labor income has reached 19.3 percent while the decline in hours declined by 20.9 percent.
Households with relatively lower annual incomes have also been found to be disproportionately burdened by financial problems caused by the pandemic. Indeed, a US-based report demonstrates that while 54% of households with annual incomes below $100,000 has experienced major financial issues, this ratio is only 20% for households with annual incomes above $100,000.
What Can Rapid Antigen Tests Offer to Households Affected By COVID-19?
Although all the negativities on household that COVID-19 pandemic has created, rapid antigen tests can create an exit-road. Rapid antigen testing offers fast, cheap, point-of-care and accessible testing method for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2. It means that we have an easy way to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and back to our normal lives.
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