A short follow up to yesterday’s post

The Guardian’s data blog has an article with a graph that shows visually the socio-economic dimension I was discussing.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2021/aug/04/most-disadvantaged-areas-of-sydney-suffer-twice-as-many-covid-cases-as-rest-of-city

The four lines are quartiles of socioeconomic status with the darkest lines being the most advantaged and the lightest being the most disadvantaged.

You can see in mid to late June that most infections are in Quartile 4 but in early July, infections were being observed increasingly in Quartile 1 areas,

11 thoughts on “A short follow up to yesterday’s post

  1. That matches the pattern we’ve seen in many countries. The groups that are the worst hit by covid are immigrant and low income communities, because they are more likely to live in crowded conditions and more likely to be so-called essential workers, who cannot stay at home and will have a higher risk of catching covid. Low income and immigrant communities also have lower vaccination rates, because vaccination information campaigns often don’t reach them.

    Another issue that’s often ignored is that lockdowns are only possible because there are large numbers of food industry workers, healthcare workers, supermarket cashiers, delivery drivers, take-out cooks, etc… which supply those locking down at home with everything they need. And these essential workers are usually low income people, many of them immigrants.

    The huge number of deaths in nursing and care homes was also due to infections accidentally being carried into the nursing homes by low paid nurses and other staff (because visitors were strictly monitored or banned altogether), many of whom again are immigrants.

    So in short, it’s in everybody’s best interest to make sure that low income and immigrant communities get vaccinated quickly

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    1. Ensuring everyone in low-income and immigrant communities here in Australia got vaccinated quickly would firstly, go against the current Federal government’s observed methods of dealing with these groups (which appear to be largely eliminationist – ensuing incomes remain low, particularly for those who aren’t employed; reducing access to government services and putting barriers in the way of obtaining service; and oh yes, demonising them at every opportunity) and secondly, be well outside the observed competence level of our Federal government (which is “abysmally incompetent”, and has been since approximately September 2013). Given our much-publicised issues with things like “obtaining adequate vaccine supplies” and “providing consistent information to the public” and so on, I suspect the only way the Australian Federal government would be able to get the vaccine roll-out working even vaguely efficiently is to consider it as a gigantic vote-buying exercise (with those, they appear to be able to manage a vague semblance of competence when it comes to putting the pork into the appropriate barrels, even if they completely mess up the cover-up stage).

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  2. Conversely, one could look at this as evidence that the most disadvantaged are that way because they’re stupid and ignorant, given that they are choosing to go unvaccinated. Once liberals have decided on their favorites, they will never hold those people responsible or accountable for their actions, whether it’s going unvaccinated, or rioting, or shooting each other. Blame will always be laid elsewhere when the problems can’t be swept under the rug.

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    1. Hyman Rosen: Conversely, one could look at this as evidence that the most disadvantaged are that way because they’re stupid and ignorant, given that they are choosing to go unvaccinated.

      No, one could not. 🙄

      This isn’t a chart of the unvaccinated, it’s a chart of the infected. As Cam has pointed out, the disadvantaged are overwhelmingly in service-type positions, where likelihood of exposure is much higher. And vaccinations aren’t freely available yet in Australia, which means that a lot of people who would like to get vaccinated haven’t yet been able to do so.

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    2. As JJ pointed out, unlike in the US and (since approx. 2 months) Germany, the vaccine isn’t freely available to anybody in Australia yet. And while I don’t know Australia’s vaccination policies, the vast majority of countries prioritise first nursing home residents and healthcare workers, then elderly people living at home, then essential workers with a high risk of exposure and then everybody else. I don’t know where Australia is at the moment, but if they have 17% of fully vaccinated people, that would suggest that they’re still going through the over 65 age group.So a lot of people who want to get vaccinated can’t get vaccinated yet.

      Furthermore, booking a vaccination slot can be stressful and often requires internet access or a smartphone, which again is not always a given for low income people. Vaccination centers are also often quite a bit away. For example, my vaccination center is 22 kilometres away. No problem for me, because I have a car, and no problem for other middle class people in my neighbourhood, including at risk elderly people whose kids help them navigate the booking website and take them to the center. But if you don’t have a car, getting to the vaccination center is challenging. If you can’t afford to take time off work to get vaccinated, that’s another potential obstacle.

      Also for low income and particularly immigrant communities, public health officials will have to change their outreach strategies. Because promoting the vaccine in health podcasts and TV programs, so-called quality newspapers, etc…doesn’t help, if your target audience does not consume this media.IMO the best way to reach low income and immigrant communities is by enlisting the aid of churches, mosques, community centers, etc… in promoting the vaccine to their audience. Setting up pop-up vaccination centers in low income neighbourhoods also help.

      Another bit of admittedly anecdotal evidence is that when people in low income and/or immigrant neighbourhood are offered the vaccine, they usually take it. For example, the city of Cologne noticed earlier this year that their fairly high covid numbers were concentrated almost entirely in two low income neighbourhoods. So they sent mobile vaccination teams in a bus there and lo and behold, people lined up to get vaccinated, because they could do it in their own neighbourhood.

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    3. Hi, Welcome to Australia under the Morrison government; please set your watch back fifty years. I’m sure *you’ll* fit in just fine.

      One of the most crucial things which is preventing a lot of people from getting vaccinated here in Australia is this: we don’t have enough supplies of the vaccine. We don’t have enough supply of the vaccine because firstly, our Federal government didn’t bother to buy enough supplies back last year (“it’s not a race”) and secondly, they didn’t commit to facilitating the local manufacturing capability which would have allowed us to make our own supplies of the mRNA vaccines under license (at present, we can’t do this because we don’t have the right equipment or facilities); thirdly, they put the vast majority of their eggs in the Astra-Zeneca basket (and also in the basket of a vaccine attempt we were trying locally, which stumbled toward the end of the development process when it turned out that one gave a lot of false positives for HIV…) and were caught out by some of the side-effects of that particular vaccine. The subsequent confused advice from the government about who should and shouldn’t get which vaccine has definitely contributed to vaccine hesitancy, but let’s not forget the main problem with getting people vaccinated is simply that we don’t have enough supplies of the vaccine.

      This was all compounded by the fact our current federal government is demonstrably unable to organise a booze-up in a brewery, an orgy in a brothel, or a chook raffle in a country pub with the local Country Women’s Association doing the majority of the hard work. Which means the government, while they’re making reassuring noises about “vaccinating people in nursing homes and essential workers first” do not have any idea what proportion of aged care workers are vaccinated, what proportion of disability care workers are vaccinated, what proportion of aged care residents are vaccinated and so on. Because they haven’t bothered to request these numbers, or require them, or anything like that.

      On top of all of this, our Federal government has fallen down with it’s other job it was supposed to be dealing with in this whole mess, namely quarantine. Our current quarantine system largely involves putting people who are coming into Australia from outside into hotel quarantine – or in other words, we’re looking at putting people who have an illness which spreads through the air into closed quarters with ventilation systems which largely recirculate the air inside the building (and with windows which often can’t be opened). As a result, most of the cases of COVID which are present in Australia at present have been sourced from our hotel quarantine system, and the only damn location in the country which hasn’t had at least one hotel quarantine breach has been the Northern Territory, where their quarantine is actually fit for purpose, doesn’t put everyone in the one building, and has air gaps between the individual rooms. The states have been asking for appropriate quarantine facilities for about a year now, and the federal government has only just, reluctantly, agreed to start thinking about the possibility of forming a committee to examine the prospect of building appropriate quarantine facilities at some appropriate juncture in the future. This is, of course, further compounded by their aforementioned problems with organising their way out of a wet paper bag, or finding their backsides with both hands.

      But sure, you go off blaming the folks who have the least choice and control in the matter for the consequences of someone else’s actions. Go you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The hotel quarantine system seems to me to be a disaster waiting to happen, because that’s how you breed infections and infect even those haven’t yet been infected. It’s also dangerous. A fire in a quarantine hotel in (I think) Taiwan recently killed several people, deaths which were completely unnecessary.

        Since Australia’s borders are closed to most foreign travel as far as I know, a lot of those in hotel quanratine are probably Australian residents who have homes in the country and could quarantine more easily and safely there. This is how most European countries handle quarantines. You may still need the hotels for travellers who don’t have a place to stay in Australia or for people who live with vulnerable people and can’t quarantine at home, but the numbers would be much lower.

        Also, someone has to work in those hotels, prepare meals, disinfect and clean common areas, provide security, etc… And those people will again come from the low income and immigrant communities, which are already disproportionarly affected by the virus.

        Plus, it’s important to test everybody entering the country (easy to do in Australia, because you don’t have land borders) and then test them again a few days later to see whom to continue quarantining.

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