Socioeconomic and Demographic Characteristics of Both Inpatients and Outpatients with Positive Testing for SARS-CoV-2

Jason H. Wasfy et al, Journal of General Internal Medicine

From the article:

Positive SARS-CoV-2 tests are highly correlated with race and poverty. Black and lower income patients tested positive more than double the proportion of White and higher-income patients. Patients in zip codes with higher proportions of service sector workers had more than triple the likelihood of positive tests. A notable strength of our analysis is that we used patient-level data for gender, race, and insurance, although we imputed measures of poverty and employment from zip code medians and proportions. A limitation of our analysis is the external validity of extrapolating MGH patients to broader populations, particularly if there are differences in socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. We are reassured, however, for example, that the Black population in this dataset (7.0%) is similar to the proportion in New England (8.1%) although the proportion of Hispanic patients is lower than in New England (11.6%).5 This difference may in part reflect less SARS-CoV-2 testing in less affluent communities in Massachusetts.6 We found that the proportion of all MGH patients who are uninsured is 0.4%, similar to this dataset of tested patients (0.5%) but less than the uninsured in Massachusetts (2.9%). As such, our results may not be generalizable to systems that care for more uninsured patients.7 Our results suggest a large role of structural and societal inequities in the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA.