The United States has been one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hispanic community and other minoritized racial/ethnic groups have been disproportionately affected throughout the country. Although inequities in COVID-19 outcomes have received substantial attention in academic research, most studies have focused on disparities measured at the state level. Urban areas face different public health challenges unique to their spatial and contextual composition. These challenges, heightened by the ongoing pandemic, further burden the disadvantaged populations within such areas.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, experts from Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health have researched disparities in testing, vaccination, health care access and other markers of the pandemic response. The latest study, this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology , harkens back to December 2020 through September 2021, when the United States first started distributing the COVID-19 vaccines, and looked at full vaccination rates in neighborhoods of 16 large U.
Population health challenges in urban areas have been heightened by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The United States population largely lives in cities. While the pandemic affected the entire country, cities were initially the hardest hit. Cities are especially vulnerable to pandemics, as they have a greater population density, generally have larger inequality gaps, and see more travelers from across the country and world. However, at the same time, cities concentrate resources that can help mitigate public health emergencies.
Shifting Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Whites in Big Cities of the US
The COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted all populations equitably. Hispanic, Black, and Indigenous populations have experienced disproportionate rates of COVID-19 cases and mortality. Research suggests these disparities are primarily driven by excess exposure, rather differences in susceptibility (e.g., underlying conditions), or access to care. Higher rates of occupation in high risk and essential occupations and living in multi-generational and crowded housing likely contribute to these exposure disparities. In the early months of vaccine distribution, vaccination coverage for Hispanics/Latinos lagged far behind non-Hispanic Whites (NHW),potentially exacerbating the existing disparities in COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality.
The COVID-19 Health Inequities in Cities Dashboard, which tracks inequities in COVID-19 outcomes by various population subgroups and across multiple geographic levels, has recently launched an update that features supplemental data on hospitalization metrics. This new data was obtained from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). This data is supplemented by other sources including local and state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What are COVID-19 waves? As of December 2021, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for nearly 52 million confirmed cases, and over 800,000 deaths in the United States (US). While COVID-19 is a novel virus, coronavirus transmission follows multiwave dynamics that are similar to other infectious diseases.1 Multiwave dynamics refer to ‘waves’ of COVID-19 infection, characterized by surges and declines in the number of new COVID-19 cases (i.e., COVID-19 incidence).
In the context of disparate decisions across the country, heterogenous state and local policies, and little national guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we set out to better understand decisions around re-opening indoor dining and in-person learning. We reviewed indoor dining and in-person elementary school policy decisions in the fall and winter of 2020 across 30 of the largest cities in the US. In this blog post, we summarize our findings from our article recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health`.
The COVID-19 Health Inequities in Cities dashboard was created to compare and track inequities related to the COVID-19 pandemic across a multitude of dimensions, including across subgroups of individuals within cities, across neighborhoods within cities, and across cities. The newest addition to the dashboard focuses on describing and comparing inequities by race/ethnicity in COVID-19 outcomes over the course of the pandemic. City specific trends of racial disparities over time Within the “City Report: Inequities: Outcomes” tab, users can select a city of interest and examine trends in COVID-19 outcomes over time for different race/ethnicity sub-populations.
As part of our efforts to track health inequities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and what cities are doing to combat these inequities, we are engaged in a qualitative analysis of 14 BCHC cities (chosen based on data availability, size, and location). This analysis consists of 1) systematic coding of city’s publicly available policies and initiatives to address inequity in testing and vaccination 2) qualitative interviews with senior health department officials and 3) a second round of systematic coding to capture changes in strategy and policy since the first round of coding.
The COVID-19 Health Inequities in Cities dashboard allows users to characterize and track COVID-19 outcomes and inequities in COVID-19 outcomes over time across multiple levels: across subgroups of individuals within cities, across neighborhoods within cities, and across cities. The dashboard has recently been updated to include two new features that leverage data on COVID-19 vaccination outcomes by age. The first new feature shows city-specific inequities by age group and can be found under the City Report: Vaccination Inequities section of the dashboard.