Moving From COVID-19 Mathematical Models to Vaccine Design: Theory, Practice and Experiences

Social Inequalities in COVID-19

Author(s): Jorge Bacallao Gallestey and Alfonso Casado Collado *

Pp: 318-384 (67)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815051902122010013

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Social inequalities have become an essential component of the health situation analysis. Health statistics are incomplete if its basic indicators are not linked to socioeconomic, sociodemographic, or sociocultural strata. The evaluation of health systems’ performance must include global indicators along with their distribution in social strata. The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected all countries to the same extent. Global statistics of both, confirmed cases and deaths portray wide differences among countries. Recent reports show wide differences associated with stratification criteria such as skin color or ethnic groups, sex, age, education, socioeconomic condition, and geographic area. The web of interactions between individual and contextual factors also influences the development of the new pandemic. This chapter lays the conceptual basis for measuring social inequalities in health and presents a basic set of the most common indices. It underscores the fact that a metric choice is not only technical, but to a great extent depends on ethical and political considerations. We document social inequalities in several health indicators associated with COVID-19 using public data or information retrieved from recently published papers. The first section of this chapter lays the conceptual foundations for measuring health inequalities. The second one exposes selected results and findings in different settings, and a brief analysis of the application of the inequality indices.

Keywords: Concentration, COVID-19, dispersion, entropy, health disparity, health indicators, indices, inequities, right to health, social inequality, stratifying variables.

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