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Devan Hawkins 1 Article
Social Determinants of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, United States: An Ecological Study
Devan Hawkins
J Prev Med Public Health. 2020;53(4):220-227.   Published online June 24, 2020
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
The aim of this study was to assess how different social determinants of health (SDoH) may be related to variability in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rates in cities and towns in Massachusetts (MA).
Data about the total number of cases, tests, and rates of COVID-19 as of June 10, 2020 were obtained for cities and towns in MA. The data on COVID-19 were matched with data on various SDoH variables at the city and town level from the American Community Survey. These variables included information about income, poverty, employment, renting, and insurance coverage. We compared COVID-19 rates according to these SDoH variables.
There were clear gradients in the rates of COVID-19 according to SDoH variables. Communities with more poverty, lower income, lower insurance coverage, more unemployment, and a higher percentage of the workforce employed in essential services, including healthcare, had higher rates of COVID-19. Most of these differences were not accounted for by different rates of testing in these cities and towns.
SDoH variables may explain some of the variability in the risk of COVID-19 across cities and towns in MA. Data about SDoH should be part of the standard surveillance for COVID-19. Efforts should be made to address social factors that may be putting communities at an elevated risk.


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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health