A B S T R A C T
The zoonotic virus now named SARS-CoV-2 first infected humans in China, and COVID-19 has rapidly become
pandemic. To mitigate its impact on societies, health systems and economies, countries have adopted nonpharmacological preventive practices such as ‘spatial’ or ‘social’ distancing, the use of protective masks, and
handwashing; these have been widely implemented. However, measures aimed at protecting physical health and
healthcare systems have side-effects that might have a big impact on individuals’ wellbeing. As the pandemic
reaches low- and middle-income countries, weaker health systems, limited resources and the lower socioeconomic status of their populations make halting the pandemic more challenging. In this article, we explore the impact of COVID-19 and its prevention measures on the wellbeing of vulnerable populations. Special attention must be given to homeless, indigenous, migrant and imprisoned populations, as well as people living with disabilities and the elderly. More than just resolute governmental action will be required to overcome the
pandemic. Links between science and political actions have to be strengthened. Fighting COVID-19 is a collective endeavour and community action, on a global scale, is of paramount importance.