Jessica West Christina Kamis, Predoctoral Students, Department of Sociology, Duke University, present, "Overcrowding, Poverty, and COVID-19 Deaths across U.S. Counties: Are Disparities Growing Over Time?"
In March 2020, U.S. public health and government officials began recommending physical distancing behaviors to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, a growing line of research underscores that socio-environmental factors that limit the ability to physically distance may contribute to disparities in the impact of COVID-19. For example, overcrowded housing may increase the transmission of infectious diseases despite county- or state-level physical distancing procedures. In this paper, we examine the relationship between the percentage of overcrowded households and COVID-19 deaths across U.S. counties. We find that percentage of overcrowded households is a significant predictor of cumulative COVID-19 deaths and that the relationship between overcrowding and COVID-19 deaths changes overtime. Furthermore, we find evidence that poverty exacerbates the relationship between overcrowding and COVID-19 deaths. Our findings underscore that disadvantaged areas may be more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19 and that this vulnerability may lead to growing disparities over time.
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