There have been efforts to characterize certain communities as economically backward or unhygienic, making them more likely to contract or spread Covid-19. Coronavirus is transmitted via droplets an individual releases when they cough or sneeze, that is, through their saliva or discharge from the nose. These are bodily fluids that all human beings are capable of transmitting the virus through. Social status and wealth have no bearing on this.
As of 6 April 2020, there have been close to 70,000 deaths around the world. Surprisingly, some of the most wealthy nations in the world in Western Europe and North America have the highest number of cases and deaths from the virus. In fact, developing countries and least developed countries have largely been left unaffected by Covid-19 in terms of fatalities.
Contrary to the stereotypes of community hygiene, world leaders, actors, and even royals, have fallen prey to SARS-CoV 2. Prince Charles, Boris Johnson, Tom Hanks and Matt Hancock are among the many notable persons who have tested positive for the virus.
In India too, testing had initially been restricted primarily to persons who had traveled overseas to affected countries. This is hardly the group of people who can be categorized as economically backward or unhygienic. Confirmed Covid-19 cases In India include several globe trotting Indians, including Kanika Kapoor.
Another interesting finding is that the mortality rate for Covid-19 is significantly higher among people older than 80 years of age. In India, where the average life expectancy is 67 years, the vulnerable older population is more readily found among affluent communities with access to high quality health care (thereby increasing life expectancy).
The myth connecting poorer communities to Covid-19 is therefore factually wrong. According to public health experts, the key to solving this global pandemic is to avoid socializing. And remember, socializing is hardly the pastime of poor communities!
The author is a BA student (Class of 2022) at National School of Journalism and Public Discourse