COVID-19 resources

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Updating ethnic contrasts in deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19), England: 24 January 2020 to 31 March 2021

The Office for National Statistics

Estimates of differences in COVID-19 mortality risk by ethnic group for deaths occurring up to 31 March 2021, using linked data from the 2011 Census, death registrations, and primary care and hospital records. Risk of COVID-19 mortality is compared between the first and second waves of the pandemic. During the first wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (24 January 2020 to 11 September 2020), people from all ethnic minority groups (except for women in the Chinese or "White Other" ethnic groups) had higher rates of death involving the coronavirus compared with the White British population. The rate of death involving COVID-19 was highest for the Black African group (3.7 times greater than for the White British group for males, and 2.6 greater for females), followed by the Bangladeshi (3.0 for males, 1.9 for females), Black Caribbean (2.7 for males, 1.8 for females) and Pakistani (2.2 for males, 2.0 for females) ethnic groups. In the second wave of the pandemic (from 12 September 2020 onwards), the differences in COVID-19 mortality compared with the White British population increased for people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic backgrounds; the Bangladeshi group had the highest rates, 5.0 and 4.1 times greater than for White British males and females respectively. Whilst males and females of Black Caribbean and Black African background remained at elevated risk in the second wave, the relative risk compared with White British people was reduced compared with the first wave. Adjusting for location, measures of disadvantage, occupation, living arrangements and pre-existing health conditions accounted for a large proportion of the excess COVID-19 mortality risk in most ethnic minority groups; however, most Black and South Asian groups remained at higher risk than White British people in the second wave even after adjustments.

Last updated on hub: 31 May 2021

Upholding ethical behaviour and human rights during COVID-19

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services

Lena Dominelli, Professor of Social Work at the University of Stirling, Chair of the IASSW Disaster Intervention, Climate Change and Sustainability Committee, and Chair of BASW’s special interest group on social work’s place in disasters (SPEDI), shares her reflections on upholding ethical behaviour, social justice and human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic [Published on 2 June 2020]

Last updated on hub: 15 June 2020

Upholding rights and valuing voices: advocacy principles for coronavirus and beyond

National Development Team for Inclusion

These operating principles seek to make sure that people who use social care and health services during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic are heard and listened to, recognising the essential role of advocacy in supporting people. The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on and exacerbated inequalities – effective advocacy is ever more important as a tool to make sure that people’s voices are heard, inequality is addressed, and rights are respected. These principles supplement the advocacy charter but do not seek to duplicate or replace it. They sit between the high-level principles of the charter and more detailed guidance and practice requirements (including the Advocacy Code of Practice). The principles are: 1. Make sure that people are heard, and their rights are respected; 2. Communicate effectively and safely meet with people in person; 3. Make sure that people can access advocacy; 4. Take positive anti-discrimination action; 5. Work together to promote systemic change.

Last updated on hub: 13 October 2020

Using a rapid assessment methodology to identify and address immediate needs among low-income households with children during COVID-19


Objective: Brighter Bites is a school-based health promotion program that delivers fresh produce and nutrition education to low-income children and families. Due to COVID-19-related school closures, states were under “shelter in place” orders, and Brighter Bites administered a rapid assessment survey to identify social needs among their families. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate the methodology used to identify those with greatest social needs during this time (“high risk”), and to describe the response of Brighter Bites to these “high risk” families. Methods: The rapid assessment survey was collected in April 2020 across Houston, Dallas, Washington DC, and Southwest Florida. The survey consisted of items on disruption of employment status, financial hardship, food insecurity, perceived health status and sociodemographics. The open-ended question “Please share your greatest concern at this time, or any other thoughts you would like to share with us.” was asked at the end of each survey to triage “high risk” families. Responses were then used to articulate a response to meet the needs of these high risk families. Results: A total of 1048 families completed the COVID-19 rapid response survey, of which 71 families were triaged and classified as “high risk” (6.8% of survey respondents). During this time, 100% of the “high risk” participants reported being food insecure, 85% were concerned about their financial stability, 82% concerned about the availability of food, and 65% concerned about the affordability of food. A qualitative analysis of the high-risk group revealed four major themes: fear of contracting COVID19, disruption of employment status, financial hardship, and exacerbated food insecurity. In response, Brighter Bites pivoted, created, and deployed a framework to immediately address a variety of social needs among those in the “high risk” category. Administering a rapid response survey to identify the immediate needs of their families can help social service providers tailor their services to meet the needs of the most vulnerable.

Last updated on hub: 07 December 2020

Using digital and assistive technologies to deliver services to people with a disability

HSE Library

An annotated bibliography of the evidence on digital and assistive technologies for people with disabilities. Topics covered include: Irish and international guidance; international literature; intellectual disabilities; children; neurological and cognitive disorders; mobility and spinal injury; and visual and hearing impairment.

Last updated on hub: 26 October 2020

Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: full guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants

Department of Health and Social Care

This document sets out key messages to support people in planning and receiving their care safely during the pandemic, including slowing the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and reducing the possibility of hospital admission or care breaking down. It is aimed at people of all ages ‒ children, young people and adults ‒ who receive support through their personal budgets or personal health budgets and take this as a direct payment. It is also relevant to family members, local authorities (LAs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), providers and people who are employed through a direct payment, including PAs (including those who are self-employed). Topics covered include: flexible use of direct payments during the pandemic; continuation of direct payments; personal protective equipment (PPE); employment of individuals; the coronavirus job retention scheme; statutory sick pay (SSP) for PAs with COVID-19 like symptoms; testing; monitoring requirements; self-funders; and keeping safe. [Last updated 19 July 2021]

Last updated on hub: 17 June 2020

Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: the most important things to know

Department of Health and Social Care

This document sets out the seven most important things that direct payments holders, local authorities (LAs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and those who provide care and support, including personal assistants, should know during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. These are: direct payments should continue as before; open communication is very important; the government expects direct payments to be used as flexibly as possible to manage any issues arising from COVID-19; all personal care assistants are considered key workers; everybody with symptoms, including unpaid carers and personal care assistants, can get a test; all direct payment holders can self-refer for testing if they’re displaying symptoms; and anybody providing direct payment holders with care and support must get the PPE they need. [Last updated 29 June 2021].

Last updated on hub: 28 September 2020

Using mixed methods to assess the coping and self-regulation skills of undergraduate social work students impacted by COVID-19

Clinical Social Work Journal

Developing coping and self-care strategies has always been important for social work students as they prepare for work that can take a psychological, emotional, mental, and physical toll and adversely impact their health and well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in its impact on social work education as it forced students to quickly transition to online learning and leave field sites abruptly to do remote activities. The degree to which and how social work students effectively coped with these changes has not been adequately studied, despite recognition that understanding how personal experiences and affective reactions influence professional judgment and behavior is a critical social work competency. To help fill this void, a mixed-methods study was conducted using video narratives and survey data to assess the coping and self-regulation skills of a cohort of undergraduate social work students. Findings indicate that these students experienced multiple stressors in all aspects of their biopsychosocial functioning due to COVID-19. Many coping skills learned for use with clients were demonstrated by students themselves. Self-sufficient, avoidant, and socially-supported coping mechanisms were frequently used and relied on by students. Use of self-distraction and active coping increased, while denial decreased within the first month after transitioning to remote learning. Implications of the findings for social work education, practice, and research are discussed.

Last updated on hub: 05 March 2021

Using non-pharmaceutical interventions and high isolation of asymptomatic carriers to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in nursing homes


Objective Using a pandemic influenza model modified for COVID-19, this study investigated the degree of control over pre-symptomatic transmission that common non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) would require to reduce the spread in long-term care facilities. Methods This study created a stochastic compartmental SEIR model with Poisson-distributed transition states that compared the effect of R0, common NPIs, and isolation rates of pre-symptomatic carriers primarily on attack rate, peak cases, and timing in a 200-resident nursing home. Model sensitivity was assessed with 1st order Sobol’ indices. Results The most rigorous NPIs decreased the peak number of infections by 4.3 and delayed the peak by 9.7 days in the absence of pre-symptomatic controls. Reductions in attack rate were not likely, even with rigorous application of all defined NPIs, unless pre-symptomatic carriers were identified and isolated at rates exceeding 76%. Attack rate was most sensitive to the pre-symptomatic isolation rate (Sobol’ index > 0.7) and secondarily to R0. Conclusions Common NPIs delayed and reduced epidemic peaks. Reducing attack rates ultimately required efficient isolation of pre-symptomatic cases, including rapid antigen tests on a nearly daily basis. This must be accounted for in testing and contact tracing plans for group living settings.

Last updated on hub: 20 February 2021

Using social media data for assessing children’s exposure to violence during the COVID-19 pandemic

Child Abuse and Neglect

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic brought unforeseen challenges that could forever change the way societies prioritize and deal with public health issues. The approaches to contain the spread of the virus have entailed governments issuing recommendations on social distancing, lockdowns to restrict movements, and suspension of services. Objective: There are concerns that the COVID-19 crisis and the measures adopted by countries in response to the pandemic may have led to an upsurge in violence against children. Added stressors placed on caregivers, economic uncertainty, job loss or disruption to livelihoods and social isolation may have led to a rise in children’s experience of violence in the home. Extended online presence by children may have resulted in increased exposure to abusive content and cyberbullying. Participants and setting: This study uses testimonial-based and conversational-based data collected from social media users. Methods: Conversations on Twitter were reviewed to measure increases in abusive or hateful content, and cyberbullying, while testimonials from Reddit forums were examined to monitor changes in references to family violence before and after the start of the stay-at-home restrictions. Results: Violence-related subreddits were among the topics with the highest growth after the COVID-19 outbreak. The analysis of Twitter data shows a significant increase in abusive content generated during the stay-at-home restrictions. Conclusions: The collective experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and related containment measures offers insights into the wide-ranging risks that children are exposed to in times of crisis. As societies shift towards a new normal, which places emerging technology, remote working and online learning at its center, and in anticipation of similar future threats, governments and other stakeholders need to put in place measures to protect children from violence.

Last updated on hub: 14 June 2021

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