Just Sociology

Inequalities in Understanding and Response: Examining the Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed multiple issues regarding social norms, inequalities, and political responses. The pandemic has served as a magnifying glass, highlighting pre-existing inequalities that were often brushed under the rug.

As social distancing guidelines and lockdowns were implemented, an over-reliance on technology and a reflection of gender relations accompanied the changing social norms. Inequalities were further exacerbated due to existing power relations and the policies that were implemented.

The government’s political response was also brought to the forefront, and the role of nation-states and rentier nationalism became crucial topics of interest. In this article, we will examine these issues in greater detail, exploring the interconnections between social norms, inequalities, and political responses.

Social Norms and Inequalities during Pandemic

1.1 Illumination of Social Norms during Pandemic

As COVID-19 spread across the globe, technologies played a critical role in our lives. Remote work, education, and communication became the norm, highlighting the extent of our reliance on technology.

It also exposed how a digital divide can further inequalities with regards to access to resources, services, and information. Moreover, gender relations are also highlighted as women are often employed in the prioritized front-line service sector such as healthcare, retail, and hospitality, increasing their risk of exposure to the virus.

1.2 Reproduction of Inequalities by Social Policies

Inequalities were further heightened by the policies that were implemented. Neoliberalism, characterized by deregulation and the reduction of the state’s role in economic affairs, influenced the distribution of resources and services.

The pandemic revealed a need for state intervention, with rentier nationalism becoming evident through the Covid Secure Housing scheme, presented as a public-private partnership, but ultimately benefiting private companies over public benefit. The track and trace contract is another example of a government contract awarded to a private company with little public oversight.

Existing inequalities in housing and wealth were also brought to the forefront as the wealthy had the means to withdraw to larger homes with better technology while the poor suffered from overcrowding in multifamily households increasing the risk of infections. 1.3 Inequality in Covid-19 Experience

In addition to the economic divide, there was a crisis of space, with different living arrangements posing different risks for the spread of the virus.

The pandemic highlighted how overcrowded and multifamily households increased the risk of exposure and infections, especially for those living in poverty. There is also a disparity in the experience of the pandemic based on the property prices of homes.

Those living in high priced properties were able to withdraw to larger homes with better technology while those who could not afford such properties were more vulnerable to the pandemic.

Political Response to Pandemic

2.1 Power of Nation State during Pandemic

The government’s response to the pandemic highlighted the power of the nation-state. Political will became a crucial factor, with governments spending money to secure resources and protect citizens.

Neoliberalism was temporarily suspended, and a greater role for the state became evident through the implementation of the Covid Secure Housing scheme, providing support to those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. 2.2 Rentier Nationalism as Government Policy

Rentier nationalism was also apparent through generous contracts awarded to companies.

Public and private sector cooperation emerged as a temporary solution to provide resources and support during the pandemic. However, a post-neoliberal policy supporting greater state intervention would be necessary to hold the companies accountable and ensure greater public benefit.

As vaccine nationalism became more apparent, some countries prioritized their citizens over global responsibility, highlighting further the challenges of intergovernmental cooperation.


In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the deep-rooted inequalities in our society, illuminated social norms and brought attention to inadequate government responses. It has also allowed a temporary suspension of neoliberalism with greater government intervention providing support to those in need.

However, the issue of rentier nationalism and the lack of accountability for private companies in providing public support needs further attention. Moving forward, there needs to be greater intergovernmental cooperation and a shift towards a post-neoliberal policy that ensures social responsibility and greater public benefit.The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the longstanding inequalities in our societies that affect understanding, interpretation, and response to public health crises.

The relevance of inequalities in understanding pandemics has been a concern for contemporary sociology. This article will discuss the significance of inequalities in Covid-19 understanding and explore how these inequalities affect societies.

Relevance of Inequalities in Covid-19 Understanding

3.1 Contemporary Sociology and Inequalities in Covid-19 Understanding

Contemporary sociology has addressed the ways in which inequalities affect health and well-being. Societal inequalities in income, race, ethnicity, and other factors frequently affect patterns of health and disease.

An often-neglected factor is how inequalities can impact understanding of health issues, such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Moreover, systematic inequalities such as access to healthcare, education, and socio-economic status can further perpetuate inequalities in the ability of individuals and communities to comprehend and respond to health crises.

In many cases, these inequalities can result in a more severe impact of the pandemic in vulnerable populations, where accurate information on the virus is not conveyed properly. Several sociological concepts can be applied to this issue, such as social capital, which refers to the resources that people have access to through social networks.

The ability to access accurate information and resources related to the pandemic through social networks can be an essential factor that can create an understanding of the impact of the pandemic on individuals and communities. Further, the influence of the media on the perception of the public during the pandemic is significant from a sociological perspective.

The vast amount of misinformation that is spread through various media platforms has created confusion and undermined public trust in public health recommendations despite having clear scientific evidence. Studies have shown that the socio-economic status of an individual can affect their understanding and perception of the risks associated with the pandemic.

People with higher socio-economic status tend to have more resources and access to information, while low-income populations often lack resources and appropriate information to protect themselves. Inequality can thus create a situation where specific information affects populations differently leading to miscalculations, hesitancy and hesitant responses.

Similarly, racial and ethnic minority groups in several countries are at a significantly higher risk of hospitalization and death rates from Covid-19 as compared to white populations. The possible causes include racism and marginalization in the healthcare sector, lack of access to healthcare facilities, and the concentration of these groups in facilities where the virus may spread to higher levels leading to poorer results.

The pandemic has affected the labour market, creating a significant economic impact leading to inequality. The loss of jobs, especially those that enable remote work, are concentrated in specific sectors, such as hospitality and tourism, leading to higher levels of unemployment and income inequality.

The increase in income inequality has affected access to healthcare and other resources, leading to a perpetuation of inequalities in Covid-19 experience, and understanding. The governments responses to the pandemic have had a profound impact on inequalities in society.

For instance, in countries with universal healthcare, access to healthcare services is theoretically equal, yet policies such as Covid Secure Housing, have shown that even during pandemics inequalities can be maintained, demands such as the closure of homeless shelters, and holding back rental protections can prove more challenging to those already at disadvantage.


In conclusion, the Covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown that inequalities need to be addressed and the relevance of inequalities in understanding, experience and responding to pandemics. The current pandemic has emphasized the role of social, racial, and economic inequalities in creating disparities in impacts and perceptions, indicating the need for future policy interventions.

Governments worldwide also need to address the issues related to inequality, provide access to healthcare and appropriate information to create a level playing field. Moreover, media and other entities must ensure that the information disseminated is reliable, accurate and specific to local needs.

In conclusion, this article explored the complex themes of social norms, inequalities, political responses, and sociology in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. Inequalities in access to resources and socio-economic status often exacerbate and influence understanding, perception, and response to the pandemic.

It has become increasingly evident that future policies need to be equitable and provide a level playing field to prevent further disparities in society. The significance of these issues cannot be understated, and it is essential to address them for a more equal and just society that can handle pandemics better.


1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic exposed existing social inequalities?

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed existing inequalities infrastructure, access to resources and health care, education, socio-economic status, and other factors that affect the spread and impact of pandemics. 2.

What is the significance of inequalities in understanding pandemics? Inequalities affect the distribution of information, knowledge as well as the ability to comprehend and response to pandemics, leading to higher levels of spread and impact.

3. How does the political response to the pandemic affect inequalities?

The government’s political response can either mitigate or exacerbate existing inequalities through policies on resource allocation, public-private partnerships, and access to healthcare. 4.

What is the significance of rentier nationalism during the pandemic? Rentier nationalism creates policies that prioritize state profit and interests over public benefit leading to inequality and unequal distribution of resources during the pandemic.

5. How does racism and social marginalization affect Covid-19 experience and outcome?

Marginalized communities and minorities are more affected by Covid-19, leading to higher hospitalization and death rates, due to factors such as discrimination, lack of access to healthcare, and concentration in areas with higher spread. 6.

How can we help reduce the impact of inequalities during pandemics? We need policies that address inequalities, increase access to healthcare, and provide accurate information to ensure that everyone can protect themselves and their communities.

Popular Posts