How Marginalized Groups are Being Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Date:

Marginalized Groups
  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Tuesday, May 02, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Groups such as older people, people experiencing homelessness, disabled people, and people of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
  • This article will discuss how marginalized groups are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can help them during these challenging times.
  • Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to people with disabilities and their caregivers can help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • With schools closed and a shift to remote learning, students from low-income families and students of color face new challenges that have widened the education gap.
  • Gig EconomyThe pandemic has also highlighted existing inequalities in the gig economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone worldwide but has hit marginalized communities the hardest. Groups such as older people, people experiencing homelessness, disabled people, and people of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This article will discuss how marginalised groups are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can help them during these challenging times.

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world in a way that no one could have predicted. It has brought a wave of uncertainty, fear, and loss. As the pandemic continues to spread, it is becoming increasingly evident that it has a more significant impact on marginalised communities.

Impact on the older people

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people of all ages, but older people have been particularly vulnerable to its impact. Older people with weakened immune systems and underlying health conditions are more susceptible to the virus and its complications, such as pneumonia and respiratory failure. As a result, the mortality rate among this group is much higher than other age groups, making them a priority for vaccination and protective measures.

Health risks

However, the physical health risks are not the only concern for older people during the pandemic. Social distancing and isolation have taken a toll on their mental health, leading to feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Many older people have had to stay at home, away from their families, friends, and social activities, for months, if not years, which can be devastating for their emotional well-being.

Isolation

The impact of isolation on older people can be particularly severe. It can exacerbate pre-existing conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, and lead to cognitive decline and functional impairment. Older people who live alone or in care homes may also experience neglect, abuse, or inadequate care, as the staff and resources are stretched thin by the pandemic.

To mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on older people, various initiatives and interventions have been implemented, such as telemedicine, online support groups, and home deliveries. Community and volunteer organisations have also stepped up to provide companionship, assistance, and advocacy for older people in need. Additionally, regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and sleep hygiene have been emphasised, as they can boost the immune system and improve mental health.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on older people, affecting their physical health, mental health, and social well-being. While the situation is still evolving, it’s essential to recognise and address older people’s unique challenges and provide them with the necessary support and resources. By doing so, we can ensure that older people are not left behind and can continue to enjoy a dignified and fulfilling life, despite the pandemic.

Impact on the Homeless

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the vulnerabilities of the homeless population, among the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in society. The pandemic has disrupted the fragile support systems and resources for people without housing, making it even harder for them to survive and stay healthy.

Improper living conditions

One of the main challenges for people without homes during the pandemic is the lack of adequate shelter and living conditions. Homeless shelters are often overcrowded, with limited space and resources, making it difficult for individuals to practice social distancing and hygiene measures. This puts them at a higher risk of contracting and spreading the virus to others. Many homeless individuals live in informal settlements, such as encampments or tents, which lack basic sanitation and infrastructure.

Limited access to healthcare

Another issue for people without housing during the pandemic is the limited access to healthcare and support services. Many homeless individuals have underlying health conditions or chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and mental health disorders, which make them more vulnerable to the virus and its complications. However, they often face barriers to accessing healthcare, such as a lack of transportation, documentation, or insurance. Homeless individuals also rely on community services, such as food banks, soup kitchens, and outreach programs, which were disrupted or reduced due to the pandemic.

Various interventions and initiatives have been implemented to address the challenges faced by the people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, such as temporary housing, hygiene stations, and mobile clinics. Many cities have also adopted a “Housing First” approach, prioritizing providing stable and permanent housing for the people experiencing homelessness rather than an emergency shelter or transitional housing. Additionally, community organizations and volunteers have stepped up to support and advocate for people without accommodation, such as delivering meals, hygiene kits, and medical supplies.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the daily systemic inequalities and injustices that the homeless population faces. The pandemic has further marginalised and stigmatised them, exacerbating their health, social, and economic challenges. However, there are also opportunities to rethink and reform the current systems and policies perpetuating homelessness and poverty. By providing adequate housing, healthcare, and support services, we can help to ensure that every individual has a safe and dignified place to call home, especially during times of crisis.

Impact on the Disabled

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges for people with disabilities. The impacts have been far-reaching, affecting their daily lives and exacerbating pre-existing health conditions. In this article, we’ll explore how the pandemic has impacted people with disabilities, including their challenges and what can be done to support them during these trying times.

The Challenges Faced by People with Disabilities During the Pandemic

Limited Access to Caregivers

Many individuals with disabilities rely on caregivers to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. However, the pandemic has made it difficult for caregivers to provide the necessary care due to social distancing restrictions and fears of infection. This has left many people with disabilities struggling to perform daily tasks, leading to a decline in their physical and mental health.

Increased Risk of Contracting the Virus

People with disabilities are more likely to have underlying health conditions, such as respiratory or cardiovascular disease, that put them at a higher risk of severe illness if they contract COVID-19. Additionally, some individuals with disabilities may have weakened immune systems, making them more susceptible to the virus. This has increased fear and anxiety among people with disabilities as they try to protect themselves from exposure to the virus.

Limited Access to Healthcare

The pandemic has also limited access to healthcare for people with disabilities. Many healthcare facilities have had to prioritize COVID-19 patients, leading to delays in routine medical care and treatments for individuals with disabilities. This has resulted in a decline in their overall health and well-being.

Supporting People with Disabilities During the Pandemic

Promoting Inclusivity and Accessibility

One of the most important ways to support people with disabilities during the pandemic is by promoting inclusivity and accessibility. This includes ensuring that information about COVID-19 is accessible to people with disabilities and that they have access to healthcare services and equipment, such as ventilators, that they may need to manage their health.

Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to people with disabilities and their caregivers can help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. This includes providing masks, gloves, and hand sanitiser to ensure that they can protect themselves and others from the virus.

Ensuring Access to Caregivers

It’s vital to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the necessary caregivers during the pandemic. This includes providing training and support to caregivers on how to provide care safely and financial assistance to individuals who may need to hire additional caregivers due to increased care needs.

Impact on People of Color


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light many pre-existing disparities in our society, including the disproportionate impact on people of color. The virus has hit this group hard, with higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death. But why is this the case?

Essential Workers

One contributing factor is that people of color are more likely to work in essential jobs, such as healthcare, grocery stores, and public transportation. These jobs require employees to be physically present and in close contact with others, putting them at a higher risk of exposure to the virus.

Underlying Health Conditions

Additionally, people of color are more likely to have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, that put them at a higher risk of severe illness if they contract the virus. These health disparities are often linked to systemic racism, with people of color having less access to healthcare and healthy food options.

Language Barriers

Another challenge faced by people of color during the pandemic is language barriers. Many important public health messages are only provided in English, making non-native speakers disadvantaged. This lack of information can lead to confusion and misinformation about the virus and how to prevent its spread.

Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy is another issue that disproportionately affects people of color. Historical and ongoing systemic racism in healthcare has led to a lack of trust in medical institutions among people of color. Additionally, misinformation and conspiracy theories about the vaccine have spread widely in some communities, further fueling vaccine hesitancy.

Mental Health

The pandemic has also affected the mental health of people of color. The stress of the virus, coupled with the isolation and social distancing measures, has led to increased rates of depression and anxiety. The heightened awareness of systemic racism and police brutality has added a layer of trauma and stress for many individuals.

In conclusion, the pandemic has highlighted the many pre-existing disparities faced by people of color in our society. We must address these issues meaningfully to ensure everyone has access to equitable healthcare, safe working conditions, and accurate information.

Impact on Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected people’s physical health but has also significantly impacted their mental health. Marginalized groups, in particular, have been hit hard by the pandemic, and the toll on their mental health has been staggering.

The uncertainty surrounding the virus and the constant fear of getting sick has increased anxiety among many individuals. The economic downturn has also added to people’s stress, with job losses and financial insecurity causing hopelessness and despair.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the pandemic has been the social isolation and lack of human connection. Social distancing measures have led to a lack of physical touch and proximity, essential for human connection. This has led to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can severely impact mental health.

Social stigma and discrimination

The impact on mental health has been even more significant for marginalised groups. Members of these groups already face societal stigma and discrimination, which can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness. For example, people of color, who are more likely to work in essential jobs and have less access to healthcare, have been hit hard by the pandemic, leading to increased anxiety and depression.

Similarly, people with disabilities, who rely on caregivers and have higher rates of underlying health conditions, are more likely to experience stress and anxiety during the pandemic. Homeless individuals, who lack access to proper hygiene facilities and are more likely to have underlying health conditions, are also at a higher risk of developing mental health issues.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the mental health of marginalized groups. The uncertainty surrounding the virus, economic insecurity, and social isolation have increased anxiety, depression, and loneliness. It is essential to provide support and resources to these groups to help them cope with the challenges of the pandemic and ensure that they receive the care and attention they need.

Impact on Education

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the education system, particularly for marginalized communities. With schools closed and a shift to remote learning, students from low-income families and students of color face new challenges that have widened the education gap. Lack of access to technology and internet connectivity has made it difficult for these students to participate in online learning, leaving them behind their peers.

The pandemic has exposed deep-rooted inequities in the education system that have long affected marginalized communities. Studies have shown that students from low-income families are more likely to attend schools that lack the necessary resources, such as updated technology and qualified teachers. This lack of access to quality education puts these students at a disadvantage, hindering their chances of academic success and future opportunities.

Moreover, the pandemic has further widened the achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts. Students of color are more likely to attend underfunded schools and lack access to technology, making it harder for them to keep up with their studies. With the shift to remote learning, the education gap has only widened. Students of color are more likely to face challenges such as language barriers and lack of access to adequate technology and internet connectivity.

Reopening of schools

As schools begin to reopen, addressing the inequities in the education system that the pandemic has exacerbated is essential. This includes investing in technology and internet access for students from low-income families and providing additional support for students of color who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s impact on education.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the education system’s deep-rooted inequities that have long affected marginalized communities. The lack of access to technology and internet connectivity has widened the education gap, leaving low-income families and students of color behind their peers. As we progress, it’s crucial to address these inequities and ensure that all students have access to quality education regardless of socioeconomic status or race.

Impact on Employment

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread economic disruption, with many individuals losing their jobs or facing reduced hours and income. However, the pandemic’s impact on employment has hit marginalized communities the hardest. People of color and low-income individuals are more likely to work in industries severely impacted by the pandemic, such as hospitality and retail. These industries have seen a significant decrease in demand due to social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Black Americans was 9.2% in December 2020, compared to 6.0% for White Americans. Latino and Native American individuals have also experienced higher unemployment rates than white individuals. These disparities are not new, but the pandemic has exacerbated them.

The pandemic’s impact has disproportionately impacted low-income individuals on employment. Many low-wage workers cannot access paid sick leave or health insurance, making it difficult for them to take time off if they become ill. Additionally, many low-wage workers are employed in industries that do not offer remote work options, putting them at higher risk of exposure to the virus.

Gig Economy

The pandemic has also highlighted existing inequalities in the gig economy. Gig workers, such as rideshare drivers and delivery drivers, cannot access the same benefits and protections as traditional employees. This lack of protections has become more concerning during the pandemic, as gig workers are putting themselves at risk of exposure to the virus to earn a living.

Overall, the pandemic’s impact on employment has hit marginalized communities the hardest, exacerbating existing inequalities. Addressing these disparities and creating a more equitable labor market is essential.

Some potential solutions include providing financial support to individuals who have lost their jobs or faced reduced hours, ensuring that all workers have paid sick leave and health insurance, and investing in job training programs to help individuals transition to less-impacted industries by the pandemic.

In conclusion, the pandemic has significantly impacted employment, with marginalized communities being hit the hardest. Addressing these disparities and creating a more equitable labor market for all individuals is essential.

How to Help Marginalized Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the daily inequalities and challenges that marginalized communities face. As the pandemic continues to affect people’s lives, we must take action to support these communities in any way possible. Here are some ways that you can help:

  1. Donate to local organisations: Donating to local food banks, shelters, and organizations that support marginalised communities is one of the most effective ways to make a difference. Many organisations have seen a significant increase in demand for their services due to the pandemic, and donations can help them meet the needs of their communities.
  2. Volunteer your time or skills: Many organizations rely on volunteers to support marginalized communities. Whether you have a skill set that could be useful to an organization or have some spare time, volunteering can be a rewarding way to help those in need.
  3. Advocate for change: The pandemic has highlighted the systemic issues that lead to inequality and marginalization in our society. Advocating for policy changes and supporting organizations that promote social justice can help address these issues at their root.
  4. Support small businesses owned by marginalized individuals: Many small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, and those owned by marginalized individuals may be particularly vulnerable. Supporting these businesses by purchasing their products or services can help them stay afloat during these challenging times.
  5. Educate yourself and others: Learning more about marginalized communities’ challenges and sharing that knowledge with others can help raise awareness and promote understanding. This can lead to more effective and sustainable solutions to these communities’ issues.

By taking these actions, we can make a difference in the lives of marginalized communities during the pandemic and beyond. Let’s work together to create a more just and equitable society.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. What is meant by marginalized groups? Marginalized groups refer to communities or groups of people who have been excluded or pushed to the fringes of society, typically due to their social, economic, or political status.
  2. How have marginalized groups been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Marginalized groups have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to pre-existing disparities in access to healthcare, economic resources, and social support. These groups are more likely to experience severe illness and death from COVID-19, job loss, and financial insecurity.
  3. Which marginalized groups have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Marginalized groups most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic include low-income communities, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.
  4. How can we support marginalized groups during the COVID-19 pandemic? There are several ways to support marginalized groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, including donating to local organizations that serve these communities, advocating for policies that address healthcare and economic disparities, and taking individual actions such as wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
  5. What long-term effects might the COVID-19 pandemic have on marginalized groups? The COVID-19 pandemic may have a long-term impact on marginalized groups, exacerbating existing inequalities and widening the gap between the most vulnerable and privileged members of society.
  6. How can we ensure that marginalized groups are included in COVID-19 vaccine distribution? To ensure that marginalized groups are included in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, it is important to prioritize equity and accessibility in vaccine distribution efforts, provide accurate and culturally responsive information about the vaccine, and address systemic barriers to healthcare access.

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