Socially disadvantaged people are at higher risk of becoming infected with Covid-19. And they are becoming even poorer because Long Covid means they are losing their income.

A woman lies in a bed wearing a sleeping mask during a protest.

Activists of the #nichtGenesen initiative protest in front of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in March 2023 Photo: Florian Boillot

It's crazy that those affected by Long Covid not only have to fight for research and therapies, but also for people to believe them. This is personally disappointing among friends and family. There is a material problem in contact with doctors and experts: those affected do not receive adequate treatment. In certain circumstances, they may even be prescribed the wrong medication, which will worsen their condition. No necessary aid or financial aid will be approved. Many of those affected do not have the strength to fight with the authorities.

You might think that we are all equal when faced with a virus. But the risk of infection is distributed unevenly: crowded living conditions, poverty and jobs with a lot of human contact increase the risk. Every infection carries a new risk of Long Covid. And the probability of contracting long Covid is not evenly distributed: women are affected about twice as much as men. Research shows that Long Covid is more common in poor and marginalized groups.

On the contrary, Long Covid also impoverishes and marginalizes people. People lose their income. They can no longer secure their livelihoods, can no longer participate in life, and sometimes need care.

Because research on Long Covid has only just begun, there are no approved therapies yet. This means that many medications must be paid for privately. Experiments are also being carried out with everything that promises hope, by those who can raise funds for it.

The inequalities in the health system that make Covid-19 and its effects more dangerous for some people than others must be addressed in the long term. However, the current handling of Long Covid is making it even worse. At least those affected should be believed and helped financially and medically, to the extent possible. Furthermore, better protection against infections could save many people from falling into poverty due to the chronic Long Covid disease.

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