Poorer neighborhoods hit harder by Covid-19 infections: report
The number of coronavirus infections is higher in poorer neighborhoods in the Dutch cities, despite the fact that people living in these neighborhoods get tested less often than in the richer parts of the cities, RTL Nieuws reports based on its own analysis of Covid-19 test figures in 39 neighborhoods in the four large Dutch cities.
Not every single neighborhood with relatively many low-income residents have high contamination rates, but in general the weaker neighborhoods are hit harder, RTL Nieuws found. The number of tests done per 100 thousand residents in Laak in The Hague, and in Nieuw-West and Zuidoost in Amsterdam also came out much lower than the average in those cities.
Last week, for example, 263 of the 1,069 Amsterdam Zuidoost residents who were tested, tested positive for Covid-19. That is nearly 25 percent. In the rest of Amsterdam, 16.5 percent of tested residents had the coronavirus. In the whole of the Netherlands, it was 9 percent.
That is not surprising, field epidemiologist Arnold Bosman said to the broadcaster. "You also see in other countries that these kinds of neighborhoods score worse than average." According to him, financial considerations can mean that people are less protected. "Wearing a face mask is the advice, but you have to buy a mask yourself. That costs money and so people choose not to do it," he said as example.
People in poorer neighborhoods are often more susceptible to disease, professor of health inequalities Maria van den Muijsenbergh said to RTL. "We know that many people live in those neighborhoods who, due to unfavorable living conditions, have a greater risk of all kinds of diseases. This includes corona."
More people live closer together in larger households, increasing the risk of disease spreading. They also more often work jobs where working from home is not an option. As a result, they are less well protected, Van den Muijsenbergh said.
It's not that people in poorer neighborhoods care or worry less about the virus, she said. "On the contrary. we feel that there is an extra fear of corona. These people have a much greater chance for a corona infection to be much more serious, because they often already have additional diseases such as obesity or cardiovascular diseases."