In its research, CBS looked at the first year of the coronavirus, from March 2020 to March 2021. In that period, nearly 28,000 people died from Covid-19.
Remarkably, the risk of death from corona among people in the lowest income group who did not receive home care or who were in a nursing home was 2.5 times higher than people in the highest income group without such care.
According to CBS researchers, the effect of low income on mortality can largely be explained by lifestyle, such as smoking, diet, and being overweight.
“People with lower education and incomes are more likely to experience background stress,” says health economist Jochen Mirau. “Then it turned out that unhealthy food was the cheapest way for them to get the necessary calories.” Mirao gives an example: “A few bags of chips and a bottle of Coke are the simplest. As a result of stress, they focus more on the short term. Who cares if you die early from excessive smoking, even if you’re not sure if you can pay the rent next week?” These fears encourage addictive behavior.”
So he believes that our country should do more to make healthy food cheaper, so that people are better able to withstand new waves. In addition, it is important that the Cabinet clearly defines a goal and draws up real policy based on it. CBS spokesperson Robin van Galen believes prevention is important. It also indicates that vaccination is the fastest intervention against corona.
People from this group also usually live in confined spaces and the reason may be that they often work in sectors where it is not possible to work from home or properly comply with Corona’s advice at work. “Think of occupations like construction worker and cleaner,” says Mirao.
The study also shows that the risk of death in that period was significantly higher among people with immigrant backgrounds. Especially among people of Moroccan, Turkish and Surinamese immigrant descent, the risk was 1.6 to 1.8 times higher than that of people with a Dutch background. For example, Corona was the cause of death among Moroccans for a quarter of all deaths, while this share was 15 percent among people of Dutch origin.
According to Van Gaalen, access to healthcare could play a role in this, although this has not been tested. “This knife cuts both ways, eg people don’t know how to find their way to health care, and on the other hand, the information may not reach them. This can lead to vulnerability.”
The study also shows that the mortality risk was higher in large cities. Over the course of the year, 17 percent of deaths in the four major cities were due to Corona, compared to 15 percent outside of them. The researchers say this is partly due to higher population density and lower incomes in general.
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