Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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COVID-19 and Group Relations

June 9, 2020

In June 2020, Prerna Singh contributed to the Center for the Advanced Study of India's special COVID-19 series, "COVID-19 and Group Relations," a study analyzing whether membership in particular groups increases or decreases one's risk to exposure and infection. 


While COVID-19 does not discriminate against different groups, inter-group relations have proven tremendously significant for the current and previous pandemics. Research shows how exposure to certain groups may increase or decrease one's vulnerability to an illness. As compared to the young and healthy, for example, COVID-19 is likely to be lethal in the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. In large part because of structural racism, ethnic minorities are likely to be overrepresented in this latter group. Economic boundaries have also structured vulnerability to the effects and consequences of COVID-19. Economically marginalized groups across the world have experienced the brunt of the consequences of the ongoing pandemic. This study analyzes the effects on such groups while also looking at the comparison between the current and previous pandemics in history.