This is the first of a series of illustrated blog posts on the contemporary photographic approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. We hope that it will stimulate members to submit more blog posts on lockdown.
This work is a lockdown project from the Contemporary group's vice-chairman Avijit Datta FRSA FLS FPhys.
The global COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it has had massive health, financial, social and psychological ramifications; ten million infections and half a million deaths. Until last week, the UK had registered 59,537 excess deaths since the week ending March 20, indicating that the virus has directly or indirectly killed 891 people per million – the highest per capita death rate in the world (https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/new-covid-deaths-per-million?tab=table; https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/). The GDP has dropped by 20% with tens of thousands job losses (https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/articles/coronavirusandtheimpactonoutputintheukeconomy/april2020). Consequent proscription of freedom of assembly (imposed social isolation, lockdown) under Regulation 6 Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and enhanced surveillance has had major social and psychological effects.
Social isolation during COVID-19 has also exposed differences between people. The wealthy live in their second homes with garden, while zero hour contract workers are off work either via redundancy or furlough. Review of UK Office for National Statistics data (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19bylocalareasanddeprivation/deathsoccurringbetween1marchand17april) has shown a twofold difference in age adjusted mortality rate between the least and most deprived London boroughs.
We are all in it together - NOT! Inequalities in age adjusted COVID-19 mortality rates associated with:
- Ethnicity (relative risk ratio 2.69 for BAME clinicians vs caucasian - ICNARC database https://www.icnarc.org/About/Latest-News/2020/05/08/Report-On-10421-Patients-Critically-Ill-With-Covid-19) . Confirmed by Institute for Fiscal studies research (threefold - https://www.ifs.org.uk/inequality/chapter/are-some-ethnic-groups-more-vulnerable-to-covid-19-than-others/)
- Deprivation (relative risk ratio 2.39 -. UK areas where there is higher deprivation scores (Newham, Brent, Hackney) have over twice the excess deaths of areas with low deprivation (Office for National Statistics) https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19bylocalareasanddeprivation/deathsoccurringbetween1marchand31may2020)
- Rural vs urban living. (relative risk ratio 6 -see Fig from ONS https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19bylocalareasanddeprivation/deathsoccurringbetween1marchand17april)
- Gender: 70% ITU patients are men (ICNARC database https://www.icnarc.org/About/Latest-News/2020/05/08/Report-On-10421-Patients-Critically-Ill-With-Covid-19)). 51% men die, 43% women die
- Obesity - a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 doubled your chance of needing ICU care in New York. A BMI greater than 35 increases risk 3.6 fold https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7228874/. Remember survival rates in ITU are only 50 %
- Religion - Jewish males had a mortality rate of 187.9 deaths per 100,000, compared with 92.6 deaths per 100,000 for Christian males.
For Jewish females, the rate was 94.3 deaths per 100,000, compared with 54.6 deaths per 100,000 for Christian females.
Muslim males had the highest rates of death involving Covid-19, with 199 deaths per 100,000 for men of all ages, and 98 deaths per 100,000 for women. (https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/coronaviruscovid19relatedmortalitybyreligionethnicityanddisabilityenglandandwales2march2020to15may2020)
It's best if you are a white woman and live in a castle/ hamlet 👸 or if you live in London, live in Henley (or Windsor 🤴) 🚣♂.
Look out for the next blog by Richard Hall, who has published a book on lockdown which has brought his village together. This is a joyful positive book, in contrast to the emptiness felt by some in living alone in inner cities; that sense of isolation has previously been captured by Walker Evans, Edward Hopper and Ed Ruscha in their depictions of empty petrol stations.
Future blogs include a project teaching inner city children photography of their feelings during lockdown. If you have a contemporary photography project related to COVID-19 please contact our web administrator email@example.com
To learn more about the Contemporary Group click here.
Other blogs in this series: