While everybody is affected by a pandemic, everyone is not affected equally. People with compromised health face greater risks, and those with less income have less ability to take the practical steps to mitigate their risk. For instance, people living in homeless shelters with dozens or even hundreds of others cannot simply “stay at home and avoid contact with others” – which is advice commonly given during pandemics.
Pandemic planning, and emergency responses when a pandemic hits, must be viewed through an equity lens. This policy paper raises critical questions and poses some key answers.