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Reviews of "The relationship between neighborhood poverty and COVID-19 mortality within racial/ethnic groups (Cook County, Illinois)"

Reviewers: Eyal Oren, Adrienne Suazo (San Diego State University) | 📒📒📒 ◻️ ◻️ • Kate Pickett (University of York) | 📗📗📗📗◻️

Published onNov 16, 2020
Reviews of "The relationship between neighborhood poverty and COVID-19 mortality within racial/ethnic groups (Cook County, Illinois)"
key-enterThis Pub is a Review of
The relationship between neighborhood poverty and COVID-19 mortality within racial/ethnic groups (Cook County, Illinois)
Description

Abstract Background Prior research has identified higher rates of COVID-19 mortality among people of color (relative to non-Hispanic whites) and populations in high-poverty neighborhoods (relative to wealthier neighborhoods). It is unclear, however, whether non-Hispanic whites in high-poverty neighborhoods experience elevated mortality, or whether people of color living in wealthy areas are relatively protected. Exploring socioeconomic position in combination with race/ethnicity can lead to a more detailed understanding of the specific processes that result in COVID-19 inequities.Methods and Findings We used census and individual-level mortality data for the non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic/Latinx populations of Cook County, Illinois, USA. We excluded deaths related to nursing homes and other institutions. We calculated age and gender-adjusted mortality rates by race/ethnicity, census tract poverty quartile, and age group (0-64 and ≥65 years).Within all racial/ethnic groups, COVID-19 mortality rates were greatest in the highest-poverty quartile and lowest in the lowest-poverty quartile. The mortality rate for younger non-Hispanic whites in the highest-poverty quartile was 13.5 times that of younger non-Hispanic whites in the lowest-poverty quartile (95% CI: 8.5, 21.4). For young people in the highest-poverty quartile, the non-Hispanic white and Black mortality rates were similar. Among younger people in the lowest-poverty quartile, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic/Latinx people had mortality rates nearly three times that of non-Hispanic whites. For the older population, the mortality rate among non-Hispanic whites in the highest-poverty quartile was less than that of lowest-poverty non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic/Latinx populations.Conclusions Our findings suggest racial/ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 mortality are partly, but not entirely, attributable to the higher average socioeconomic position of non-Hispanic whites relative to the non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic/Latinx populations. Future research on health equity in COVID-19 outcomes should collect and analyze individual-level data on the potential mechanisms driving population distributions of exposure, severe illness, and death.

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Summary of Reviews: This study adds to the literature on disparities in COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, though the data used may preclude some important, finer-grained analyses of different sources of outcome disparities.

Reviewer 1 (Eyal Oren, Adrienne Suazo) | 📒📒📒 ◻️◻️

Reviewer 2 (Kate Pickett) | 📗📗📗📗◻️

RR:C19 Strength of Evidence Scale Key

📕 ◻️◻️◻️◻️ = Misleading

📙📙 ◻️◻️◻️ = Not Informative

📒📒📒 ◻️◻️ = Potentially Informative

📗📗📗📗◻️ = Reliable

📘📘📘📘📘 = Strong

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