Coronavirus (COVID-19) and increased vulnerabilities
A range of factors make people more vulnerable to COVID-19, in both the short-term and longer and medium terms. Vulnerabilities can be clinical and non-clinical.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can make anyone seriously ill. However, evidence shows that clinical vulnerability to severe outcomes from COVID-19 such as hospitalisation or dying are higher for certain population groups linked to age, gender, ethnicity, deprivation and pre-existing health conditions.
There are 2 levels of higher risk:
- high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- moderate risk (clinically vulnerable)
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to ‘shield’. All local authorities, like Southampton City Council have been supporting those people by offering ‘shielding’ support and advice. This includes offering practical support like emergency food parcels and social contact, signposting to community groups and collection and delivery of medication.
Mapping the areas of the city where there is a greater concentration of clinically vulnerable ‘shielded’ residents and those registering for support, help us to understand which communities and neighbourhoods are at highest risk to the clinical impacts of COVID-19. This helps us to plan response services and targeted communications. Maps of the most clinically vulnerable areas of the city can be found in the resources section below.
However, it is not just those with a high clinical risk that are vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19. People may have a wider vulnerability to contracting COVID-19 due to their occupation (e.g. healthcare workers), or living conditions (e.g. high population density or overcrowded housing). In addition, as we move into the recovery phase of the pandemic, we need to consider those that are vulnerable to the adverse impacts from COVID related policies, such as lockdown and the subsequent economic downturn.
In responding to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a clear need to understand which areas of the city have the highest levels of clinical and non-clinical vulnerabilities. As a result a vulnerabilities index for Southampton has been created and a series of maps developed to help those looking to plan and target services. The most up-to-date published reports and evidence were considered to understand which datasets and indicators best described COVID-19 vulnerabilities. Indicators were then sourced at neighbourhood level correlating with the evidence and grouped into three domains to explain different vulnerabilities at varying stages:
- Clinical vulnerability to COVID: Higher risk of experiencing severe outcomes from contracting COVID-19
- Wider risks from COVID: Increased risk of contracting COVID-19 through work / living conditions
- Vulnerability to policies relating to COVID: Increased risk of experiencing negative impacts from COVID-19 related policies, e.g. lockdown or economic downturn
More information on the methodology and indicators used, as well as the resulting Index maps is available in the Southampton Vulnerability Indices report which can be downloaded from the resources section below.