Australia is known for consistently maintaining high living standards and ensuring access to universal health care for the population. However, as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds, long-lasting inequalities become evident, revealing the gap in health outcomes between poor and rich households. Such a tendency is common for many countries all over the world, and its consequences continue to affect people throughout the course of the pandemic. While researching this subject, I came across an article that reports the disproportional impact of COVID-19 on higher- and lower-income households. For instance, the west and south-west of Sydney are marked by culturally and linguistically diverse groups. In the context of the pandemic, social distancing, and remote work, low-income families in these areas have to share their households and live in overcrowded houses while also facing additional barriers to accessing health care. Similarly, some people do not have the option of working from home, which implies higher risks of COVID-19 exposure and associated adverse health outcomes.
The relationship between poverty and health is complex, resulting in particularly negative consequences for indigenous people and individuals living in socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Generally, the underlying reason is unequal and limited access to vital resources, such as sufficient income, adequate housing, educational and job opportunities, as well as social support and security. These factors can be considered social determinants of health since it is a well-known fact that a higher socioeconomic position is associated with better health outcomes. In contrast, lower social security can result in higher risks of illness, disability, and mortality. I think that, unfortunately, the complex nature of all the factors involved in people’s health and well-being suggests that numerous socio-economical issues must be addressed to tackle the health inequality problem in Australia. Meanwhile, families do not have equal conditions to follow all safety measures effectively. Some people have no choice but to work on-site and return to crowded homes every night, putting themselves and their families at risk of getting infected. COVID-19 crisis should be used as an opportunity to address the gap in socioeconomic conditions and health outcomes for the population.