Friday Five

The threat of COVID-19 and the return of Ebola – this week’s Friday Five

COVID-19 disproportionately affects BAME communities

In the last couple of weeks, it has become apparent that COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on BAME groups in the UK and globally, without any scientific evidence to suggest a genetic predisposition.

In fact, the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found that 34% of critically ill coronavirus patients in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were from BAME backgrounds. Only 14% of the UK are from these backgrounds.

This raises concerns about the socio-economic disparities, and there have been calls for further research to understand why the virus could be having a disproportionate impact on non-white ethnic groups.

Read the full story on BBC News.

Mental health threatened by COVID-19 pandemic

Social isolation, loneliness, stress and economic downturn are bound to have an impact on people’s health and wellbeing, so it’s no wonder that mental health is now headlining the news.

Psychiatrists and psychologists across the UK have made calls for action against a looming mental health crisis, asking for increased research to understand the psychological, social and neuroscientific effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full story in BBC News.

COVID-19 drives transformation of primary care

Over the last month, the COVID-19 outbreak has driven an enormous change in the primary care sector, with most consultations moving to remote and virtual consultations to comply with social distancing restrictions.

BBC analysis released this week showed that only 7% of GP appointments are being held in person – a stark difference to the average of 80% last year.

And it’s great to see so many of our clients playing a part in this – Push Doctor, Docly, Visiba Care and members of the Digital Healthcare Council are all doing amazing work to ensure the best care for patients during the crisis – keep up the good work!

Read the full story in BBC News.

Ebola poses threat to Congo once again

While health systems all over the world focus on tackling COVID-19, the Demoncratic Republic of Congo’s Ebola outbreak appears to be on the rise again, with three confirmed cases in the last week.

The news was announced just before the Ebola outbreak should have been declared over, passing the 42-day disease free landmark.

But health officials remain optimistic. Over 300,000 people have now been vaccinated, and there is confidence that the outbreak can be contained.

Read the full story in the BMJ.

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Quote of the week

Andy Cowper took an interesting take on COVID-19 in the HSJ this week, relating the virus to the famous Schrodinger’s cat paradox, which illustrates the idea that matter can exist in two different states simultaneously.

“Because we can’t get tested, we can’t know if we have the COVID-19 virus or not

“We have to act as if we have the virus, so that we don’t spread it to others.

“We have to act as if we’d never had the virus, because if we haven’t had it, we’re not immune.

“Therefore, we simultaneously have and don’t have the COVID-19 virus.”