Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The Social Scarring of Coronavirus

 Just as we suspected, a leading thinktank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the most vulnerable – those on lower incomes, the young, the least-educated and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds – had been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Covid-19 has “cruelly exposed huge variations in how easily we are able to weather threats to livelihoods, to educational progress, to physical and mental health”, the IFS said. “These disparities have been closely correlated with pre-existing inequalities between groups according to their education, income, location and ethnicity – in ways that are often hard to disentangle, but depressingly familiar.”

The report noted that:

  • 1. Mortality rates in the most deprived communities were about twice as high as those in the least deprived. BAME groups were more likely to die than the white majority, in part reflecting their occupations.

  • 2. The better-paid and more highly educated had found it easier to cope financially with the crisis. Among graduates, there had been a 7% fall in the number doing any paid work; among non-graduates it was 17%.

  • 3. Children from poorer families found it harder to do schoolwork during lockdown, received less online teaching, and have been more likely to miss school since September.

  • 4. Elderly people have suffered high mortality rates from Covid-19, but the young have felt the economic consequences, with the under-25s more than twice as likely as older workers to have lost their jobs.

The IFS said: “We need to do more to ensure greater economic opportunities for minority ethnic groups, and ensure that they are not consigned to low-paid and self-employed occupations..."

The IFS also said that without targeted support for children who had fallen behind as a result of the crisis, the “huge educational inequalities that existed” before the pandemic were almost certain to get worse.

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