Lockdown measures to control COVID-19 have exacerbated the poverty epidemic. We hypothesized that the synergistic interaction of COVID-19 and poverty epidemics favors the development of more severe forms of COVID-19 in the population living in poverty. To test this hypothesis, we assessed whether an ecological association exists between the geographic distribution of hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia and markers of poverty in the city of Louisville, KY.
Using the geomasked home addresses of hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in the city of Louisville, a kernel density heatmap was created. Kuldorff’s spatial scan statistic was used to calculate areas of increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia hospitalization. Heat maps were created for census tract–level demographics according to income, age, race, and ethnicity to assess whether an ecological association exists with the spatial distribution of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia hospitalization.
Four areas of increased risk of hospitalization due to SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia were identified in the western and central sections of the city, with relative risks (RRs) ranging from 2.3 to 3.2 (p
Residents from low-income areas are almost three times more likely to develop SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia requiring hospitalization. Current efforts to decrease the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations through vaccination of populations at risk should be concentrated in city areas with a low-income level population.
This study was funded by a grant from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
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Ramirez, Julio A.; Furmanek, Stephen P.; Cahill, Meredith; Hanson, Stephen S.; Carrico, Ruth; and Arnold, Forest W.
"The Population Affected by the Syndemic of COVID-19 and Poverty is More Likely to be Hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 Pneumonia,"
The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections: Vol. 5
, Article 16.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jri/vol5/iss1/16