Lancet Migration: Migration and Covid-19 Resources

Lancet Migration has developed a Covid-19 resource platform.

“People on the move, whether they are economic migrants or forcibly displaced persons such asylum seekers, refugees, and internally displaced persons, should be explicitly included in the responses to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. This global public health emergency brings into focus, and may exacerbate, the barriers to healthcare these populations face. Many migrant & refugee populations live in conditions where physical distancing and recommended hygiene measures are particularly challenging. The Covid-19 pandemic reveals the extent of marginalisation migrant & refugee populations face.  We have developed a resource platform to encourage knowledge sharing across different  regions globally and to highlight the  need to include migrants and refugees in the Covid-19 response.”

Further information and the resource platform can be found here

[Open Access] The neglected health of international migrant workers in the COVID-19 epidemic

CORRESPONDENCE | LANCET PSYCHIATRY | VOLUME 7, ISSUE 4, E20, APRIL 01, 2020

The neglected health of international migrant workers in the COVID-19 epidemic

“Of the 150 million international migrant workers (IMWs) worldwide, 95% reside in the five WHO regions in which cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been confirmed. The absence of a coordinated response for IMWs highlights a key deficiency in public health planning.”

Read the full article here

[Open ACcess] ethnicity and COVID-19: an urgent public health research priority

CORRESPONDENCE | THE LANCET | VOLUME 395, ISSUE 10234, P1421-1422, MAY 02, 2020

Ethnicity and COVID-19: an urgent public health research priority

“As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues advancing globally, reporting of clinical outcomes and risk factors for intensive care unit admission and mortality are emerging. Early Chinese and Italian reports associated increasing age, male sex, smoking, and cardiometabolic comorbidity with adverse outcomes.1 Striking differences between Chinese and Italian mortality indicate ethnicity might affect disease outcome, but there is little to no data to support or refute this.”

Read the full article here

[Open Access] Is ethnicity linked to incidence or outcomes of covid-19?

Is ethnicity linked to incidence or outcomes of Covid-19?

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1548 (Published 20 April 2020)

“Clear evidence to confirm or rule out an association between ethnicity and outcome in covid-19 is important not only for the UK but also for other regions such as South Asia and Africa, where the pandemic is at an earlier stage. Efforts must be coordinated to collect an international data set that includes ethnicity. If an association is confirmed, further research will be needed to determine the causes.”

Read the full paper here

[Open Access] Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in England are at increased risk of death from COVID-19: indirect standardisation of NHS mortality data

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in England are at increased risk of death from COVID-19: indirect standardisation of NHS mortality data

Aldridge RW, Lewer D, Katikireddi SV et al. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in England are at increased risk of death from COVID-19: indirect standardisation of NHS mortality data [version 1; peer review: 3 approved with reservations]. Wellcome Open Res 2020, 5:88 (https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15922.1)

ABSTRACT

Background: International and UK data suggest that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups are at increased risk of infection and death from COVID-19. We aimed to explore the risk of death in minority ethnic groups in England using data reported by NHS England.
Methods: We used NHS data on patients with a positive COVID-19 test who died in hospitals in England published on 28th April, with deaths by ethnicity available from 1st March 2020 up to 5pm on 21 April 2020. We undertook indirect standardisation of these data (using the whole population of England as the reference) to produce ethnic specific standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) adjusted for age and geographical region.
Results: The largest total number of deaths in minority ethnic groups were Indian (492 deaths) and Black Caribbean (460 deaths) groups. Adjusting for region we found a lower risk of death for White Irish (SMR 0.52; 95%CIs 0.45-0.60) and White British ethnic groups (0.88; 95%CIs 0.86-0.0.89), but increased risk of death for Black African (3.24; 95%CIs 2.90-3.62), Black Caribbean (2.21; 95%CIs 2.02-2.41), Pakistani (3.29; 95%CIs 2.96-3.64), Bangladeshi (2.41; 95%CIs 1.98-2.91) and Indian (1.70; 95%CIs 1.56-1.85) minority ethnic groups.
Conclusion: Our analysis adds to the evidence that BAME people are at increased risk of death from COVID-19 even after adjusting for geographical region. We believe there is an urgent need to take action to reduce the risk of death for BAME groups and better understand why some ethnic groups experience greater risk. Actions that are likely to reduce these inequities include ensuring adequate income protection (so that low paid and zero-hours contract workers can afford to follow social distancing recommendations), reducing occupational risks (such as ensuring adequate personal protective equipment), reducing barriers in accessing healthcare and providing culturally and linguistically appropriate public health communications.

Read the full paper here

Abstract

[Open Access] Global call to action for inclusion of migrants and refugees in the COVID-19 response

CORRESPONDENCE | THE LANCET | VOLUME 395, ISSUE 10235, P1482-1483, MAY 09, 2020

Global call to action for inclusion of migrants and refugees in the COVID-19 response

“Lancet Migration1 calls for migrants and refugees to be urgently included in responses to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.2 Many of these populations live, travel, and work in conditions where physical distancing and recommended hygiene measures are impossible because of poor living conditions3 and great economic precarity. This global public health emergency highlights the exclusion and multiple barriers to health care4 that are faced by migrants and refugees, among whom COVID-19 threatens to have rapid and devastating effects.5 From an enlightened self-interest perspective, measures to control the outbreak of COVID-19 will only be successful if all populations are included in the national and international responses. Moreover, excluding migrants and refugees contradicts the commitment to leave no one behind and the ethics of justice that underpin public health. Principles of solidarity, human rights, and equity must be central to the COVID-19 response; otherwise the world risks leaving behind those who are most marginalised. Join our global call to action for the inclusion of migrants and refugees in the COVID-19 response (panel).”

Read the full article here

[Open Access] Racism and discrimination in COVID-19 responses

Racism and discrimination in COVID-19 responses

CORRESPONDENCE | THE LANCET | VOLUME 395, ISSUE 10231, P1194, APRIL 11, 2020

“The strength of a health system is inseparable from broader social systems that surround it. Epidemics place increased demands on scarce resources and enormous stress on social and economic systems. Health protection relies not only on a well functioning health system with universal coverage, but also on social inclusion, justice, and solidarity. In the absence of these factors, inequalities are magnified and scapegoating persists, with discrimination remaining long after. Division and fear of others will lead to worse outcomes for all.”

Read the full article here

[Open Access] Travel health risk perceptions of Chinese international students in Australia – Implications for COVID-19

Travel health risk perceptions of Chinese international students in Australia – Implications for COVID-19

Tara Maa, Anita HeywoodaC., Raina MacIntyreb
aSchool of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Australia, Kensington, NSW, 2052 Australia
bBiosecurity Program, The Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia, Kensington, NSW, 2052 Australia

Abstract

Background

International students frequently return to their country of origin to visit friends and relatives (VFR), and are at increased risk of travel-associated infections. Little is known of their travel health seeking behaviours. China is the biggest source of international students studying in Australia and the unprecedented epidemic of COVID-19 in China makes this an important area of research.

Methods

Focus groups of Chinese international students were conducted to explore travel health-related knowledge, attitudes and practices. Eligible participants were studying in Sydney, and had travelled to China and Hong Kong to visit friends and relatives in the preceding 18 months. A variety of topics were explored, using a focus group guide. Thematic analysis was undertaken on the transcripts using nVivo software. The list of codes and themes were not pre-determined but developed through content analysis.

Results

Two focus groups were held with a total of 28 participants. Risk perception about VFR travel was generally low among Chinese international students. Pre-travel healthcare was not sought. Students strongly relied on the Internet, social media, parents and friends in China for travel health advice.

Conclusion

This research provides insights into Chinese international students as VFR travellers. It confirms students could be a risk population for importations of infections such as COVID-19 because of low risk perception and lack of seeking travel health advice. This can inform health promotion strategies for students.

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[Open Access] COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Time to Consider SARS-CoV-2 Challenge Studies?

COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Time to Consider SARS-CoV-2 Challenge Studies?

Schaefer, G.O and Tam, Clarence C. and Savulescu, Julian and Voo, Teck Chuan, COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Time to Consider SARS-CoV-2 Challenge Studies? (March 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3568981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3568981

Abstract

While a human challenge study holds the prospect of accelerating the development of a vaccine for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, it may be opposed due to risks of harm to participants and researchers. Given the increasing number of human deaths and severe disruption to lives worldwide, we argue that a SARS-CoV-2 challenge study is ethically justifiable as its social value substantially outweighs the risks. Such a study should therefore be seriously considered as part of the global research response towards the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper contributes to the debate by addressing the misperception that a challenge study would lower scientific and ethical standards for vaccine research as well as other ethical concerns. Information that need to be disclosed to prospective participants to obtain their consent are set out.

Read the full paper here

[Open Access] Mapping population mental health concerns related to COVID-19 and the consequences of physical distancing: a Google trends analysis

Mapping population mental health concerns related to COVID-19 and the consequences of physical distancing: a Google trends analysis

Knipe D, Evans H, Marchant A et al. Mapping population mental health concerns related to COVID-19 and the consequences of physical distancing: a Google trends analysis [version 1; peer review: 2 approved with reservations]. Wellcome Open Res 2020, 5:82 (https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15870.1)

ABSTRACT

Background: The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic is a major international public health challenge.  Governments have taken public health protection measures to reduce the spread of the virus through non-pharmalogical measures. The impact of the pandemic and the public health response on individual and population mental health is unknown. 
Methods: We used Google Trends data (1 Jan 2020 – 1 Apr 2020) to investigate the impact of the pandemic and government measures to curb it on people’s concerns, as indexed by changes in search frequency for topics indicating mental distress, social and economic stressors and mental health treatment-seeking. We explored the changes of key topics in Google trends in Italy, Spain, USA, UK, and Worldwide in relation to sentinel events during the pandemic.
Results: Globally there appears to be significant concerns over the financial and work-related consequences of the pandemic, with some evidence that levels of fear are rising. Conversely searching for topics related to depression and suicide fell after the pandemic was announced, with some evidence that searches for the latter have risen recently. Concerns over education and access to medication appear to be particular social stressors. Whilst searches for face-to-face treatments have declined, those for self-care have risen.
Conclusions: Monitoring Google trends shows promise as a means of tracking changing public concerns. In weeks to come it may enable policy makers to assess the impact of their interventions including those aiming to limit negative consequences, such as government funded financial safety nets.

Read the full article here