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COVID-19 micro briefings

Calendar icon Children and Young People, Communities, Health and Care, Inequalities

Folder icon May 2020 - Mar 2022

In collaboration with Policy Scotland and input from expert partner agencies, we set out to produce a series of COVID-19 micro briefings to provide concise, accessible overviews of current evidence concerning complex and evolving issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

objectives icon Project objectives

  • To inform and support the work of Glasgow City Council’s Social Recovery Taskforce. 
  • To provide evidence as to how the pandemic has impacted life, health and wellbeing in Glasgow and beyond, and the implications for inequalities, policy, and practice in the recovery period. 
  • To consider future directions for research by collaborating with partner agencies, sharing both academic and practice expertise directly to policymakers and the public.   
  • To provide leadership, direction, and to set out a shared vision that will drive the city’s response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to a broad range of themes that impact population health. 

involved icon What is involved

GCPH led the development of the micro briefings in collaboration with Glasgow Disability Alliance, Wise Women, Coalition for Racial Equalities and Rights and Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland. Each micro briefing examined the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on disabled people, women, black and minority ethnic groups and children and young people, respectively, summarising key evidence and analysis of COVID-19 trends from within the UK and Scotland. Coupled with expert insights, practice and service delivery learning, and lived experience supported through the collaboration with the equalities groups listed, this evidence produced actionable recommendations which guided the work of the Social Recovery Task Force.  

Covid microbriefing children

findings icon Findings & outcomes

The COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate impact on the protected-characteristic groups described, meaning that they required specific consideration within social and economic recovery planning and implementation. The micro briefings provided an evidence-based platform from which Social Recovery partners in Glasgow City could consider and develop their collective responses.  


Disabled people are more likely to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19. A variety of mechanisms explain the disproportionate impact of the pandemic among disabled populations, including elevated clinical risk; the worsening of existing poverty and inequalities; barriers in accessing vital services including COVID-19 testing; and the disruption of vital health, social care and other support services. 

The unintended impacts of the lockdown disease-containment policy were more acutely felt by disabled people who had higher rates of existing common mental disorders, were more likely to be socially isolated and to be digitally excluded. Mainstreaming the sustained involvement of disabled people in designing pandemic recovery policy, practice and research at the local and national levels will support the effectiveness of public service responses and the potential to ‘build back fairer’. 

BME populations 

*Use of the term BME in this publication reflected the common language used to describe Black and Minority Ethnic groups at that time. We recognise that the term racialised minorities is amongst those most preferred and so we have updated this going forward.*

BME populations experienced among the highest COVID-19 infection and death rates alongside other disproportionate social impacts. Evidence from global perspectives and from other parts of the UK makes clear that the undue pandemic impacts on BME populations relate to pre-existing inequalities in health, employment, income, opportunity, and access to health services. Much of these pre-existing inequalities are driven by discrimination and racism.  

Dismantling racism is essential to achieving health equity. Racism is a fundamental determinant of health and a systemic problem which demands structural interventions and reforms. Failure to do so will hinder equitable pandemic recovery efforts and will exacerbate the health and social inequalities evidenced among some BME communities. 


Evidence suggests that the mental health impacts of the pandemic were worse for women than men. Women are more likely to be essential workers in the health, care, education and retail sectors facing higher exposure to COVID-19, increased stress and difficulty reconciling work, family life and care responsibilities. Lockdowns enabled increased intimate partner violence against women. Women also took on a disproportionate share of additional unpaid care and increased household duties during lockdowns in comparison to men.  

The adverse economic impacts of the pandemic interact with and exacerbate existing gender employment inequalities. Lone mothers and guardians, Black, Asian and minority ethnic women and disabled women are priority groups, among others, experiencing some of the worst social, economic and clinical impacts of the pandemic. Women are under-represented in pandemic task forces and decision-making bodies. Failure to incorporate a gendered perspective within pandemic recovery efforts will deepen existing gender inequalities and worsen outcomes for women. 

Children and Young People 

The pandemic and related lockdowns adversely impacted on children and young people. The evidence reviewed makes clear that families within disadvantaged areas were disproportionately impacted. Rising poverty and food insecurity, exclusion from online learning, and support service disruption were the key mechanisms through which disadvantaged children and young people have been disproportionately impacted. Adverse impacts include the physical and mental health of children and young people alongside child welfare, education and social interactions.  

A minimum basic income, increased living wage and re-establishment of uplift to universal credit could help address the poverty impact of COVID-19 on families. The third sector has played an essential role in supporting the most vulnerable families during the pandemic. This has underscored the societal benefits of well-functioning public and third sector and community partnership working. 

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