COVID-19: Vulnerability and the power of privilege in a pandemic

James A. Smith, Jenni Judd

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

123 Citations (Scopus)


On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 was characterised as a pandemic—a global first for coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness such as the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. A novel coronavirus is typi-cally a new strain of the infectious disease that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 is the most recent version of a novel coronavirus. COVID-19 has received significant public and government attention over the past weeks after it was first detected in the Wuhan province of China in December 2019, with subsequent epidemics in China, Italy, Republic of Korea and Iran. As of 12 March 2020, 125 000 cases were reported from 118 countries and territories globally, with predictions this will continue to rise rapidly. This has led to an array of public health measures being advocated by the WHO, including four critical areas for action—(a) prepare and be ready; (b) detect, protect and treat; (c) reduce transmission; and (d) innovate and learn. This has been complemented, to varying degrees, through concurrent action by local, state and national governments worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-160
Number of pages3
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • privilege
  • health inequalities
  • pandemic
  • health communication
  • misinformation effect


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