Urbeur suggests the article “Assessing the Impact of Individual Characteristics and Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Provinces of Milan and Lodi” just published for the International Journal of Health Services.
Among the authors: David Consolazio, who received his PhD in Urbeur in February 2020, with a socio-epidemiological thesis on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus’ social and territorial inequalities in the City of Milan.
Link to full-article (open access): https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0020731421994842
The study of social and territorial inequalities in relation to health outcomes is not novel within social sciences, with several contributions aiming at exploring and quantifying the extent to which a specific disease or – more widely – health conditions follow a social gradient and/or present a spatial heterogeneity within specific contexts, such as the urban environment. Within this field, most of the literature has so far focused on chronic diseases, given their predominance over infectious diseases as the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, at least in medium- and high-income countries. Nonetheless, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic contributed to reshape the lens through which we observe the social realm and conduct research, yielding to adapt our theoretical foundations and methodological tools to the emergent dynamics. In public opinion, a common sense belief is that, differently from the case of chronic diseases, which are triggered by lifestyle factors unevenly distributed across social strata, the new virus may be by its nature more “democratic”, equally hitting individuals belonging to different social groups, as the virus spread regardless of social class. In this study, we aimed at testing these assumptions with proper data, within the specific framework of the Social Determinants of Health. Data for the analysis came from the Epidemiology Unit of the Agency for Health Protection of the Metropolitan City of Milan, which contributed to the define and develop the study. Analysing individual-records of swab-tested and symptomatic cases during the “Phase-1” in a territory including the municipalities at the origin of the first Italian outbreak, a
clear pattern of territorial inequalities emerged, with people living in the most-disadvantaged areas being at higher risk of COVID-19 infection. The results reached highlight the need to take into account the presence of socioeconomic disparities in the transmission of the disease to contain its spread in successive
waves and in possible future epidemics.