Duke University researchers V. Joseph Hotz, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Economics, Scott Abrahams, PhD candidate in Economics, and Marwa AlFakhri, PhD candidate at the Sanford School of Public Policy, join co-authors Emily E .Weimers, Syracuse University, Robert F. Schoeni, University of Michigan and Judith A. Seltzer, the University of California, Los Angeles, to provide the first nationally representative estimates of vulnerability to severe complications from COVID-19 overall and across race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Their analysis utilizes data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine the prevalence of specific health conditions associated with complications from COVID-19 and calculates, for each individual, an index of the risk of severe complications from respiratory infections developed by DeCaprio et al. (2020). Results detailed in their working paper, Disparities in Vulnerability to Severe Complications from COVID-19 in the United States, show large disparities across race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status in the prevalence of conditions, including hypertension, which are associated with adverse outcomes from COVID-19, and in the overall risk of severe complications. Moreover, these disparities emerge early in life, prior to age 65, leading to higher vulnerability to such complications. These findings suggest particular attention should be paid to the risk of adverse outcomes in midlife for non-Hispanic blacks, adults with a high school degree or less, and low-income Americans.
This analysis received support, in part, from the Aging Studies Institute at Syracuse University, the Duke Center for Population Health and Aging, which receives core support (P30AG034424) from the National Institute on Aging, and by the California Center for Population Research at the University of California at Los Angeles, which receives core support (P2C-HD041022) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The collection of data used in this study was partly supported by the National Institutes of Health under grant number R01 HD069609 and R01 AG040213, and the National Science Foundation under award numbers SES 1157698 and 1623684.