Coronavirus (993) The Lancet: COVID-19 is not a pandemic

25 September, 2020

Below are extracts from Richard Horton's column in tomorrow's print issue of The Lancet:

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As the world approaches 1 million deaths from COVID-19, we must confront the fact that we are taking a far too narrow approach to managing this outbreak of a new coronavirus... COVID-19 is not a pandemic. It is a syndemic. The syndemic nature of the threat we face means that a more nuanced approach is needed if we are to protect the health of our communities.

Syndemics are characterised by biological and social interactions between conditions and states, interactions that increase a person’s susceptibility to harm or worsen their health outcomes. In the case of COVID-19, attacking NCDs will be a prerequisite for successful containment...

Addressing COVID-19 means addressing hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer...

The most important consequence of seeing COVID-19 as a syndemic is to underline its social origins. The vulnerability of older citizens; Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities; and key workers who are commonly poorly paid with fewer welfare protections points to a truth so far barely acknowledged — namely, that no matter how effective a treatment or protective a vaccine, the pursuit of a purely biomedical solution to COVID-19 will fail...

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Full text: https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(20)32000-6.pdf

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org