Disparities in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, treatment access, infection outcomes, and mortality rates have been noted since early in the pandemic. However, the reasons for these disparities consist of a complex mix of factors that can be hard to pin down and may include a combination of environmental, socioeconomic, and genetic factors.
This study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, consists of a general analysis of current disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, attempting to go beyond statistical analysis to understand the causal nature of these disparities.
The researcher notes that the racial disparity is very striking and extends into age groups where mortality is overall low, with African American and Latinx patients aged 25-34 exhibiting mortality rates 6.4 times higher than their white counterparts. The research indicates that there are a number of socioeconomic factors that exacerbate racially disparate comorbidities, including grocery mobility and access to high-quality healthcare.
It is noted that in the absence of any known genetic disparity, the most likely explanation is that comorbidities are dependent on socioeconomic disparities, especially related to employment, housing, food access, and financial resources, hindering compliance with health guidelines and access to healthcare. The study includes a discussion of genetic factors as well as thorough analyses of other types of disparities.
The study concluded that short of restructuring the allocation of means and eliminating socioeconomic disparities, the best solution is to strategically allocate aid in a way that takes these disparities into account so that they may be dealt with before they become even more severe .
Source: Carethers, J. M. (2020). Insights into disparities observed with COVID‐19. Journal of Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1111/joim.13199