01 May COVID-19: Which NYC Borough Has Highest Rate of Hospitalizations and Deaths?
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rishi Wadhera, MD, MPP, MPhil
Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School
Cardiologist,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: With more than a million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, there is growing concern that low-income communities and racial/ethnic minorities may be disproportionately shouldering the burden of the pandemic. New York City, which is comprised of 5 boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island) with unique demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, has emerged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: This study found substantial differences in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths across the boroughs of New York City. The Bronx — the borough with the highest proportion of racial and ethnic minorities, the most persons living in poverty, and lowest levels of educational attainment — had higher rates of hospitalization and death related to COVID-19 than the four other boroughs.
In contrast, hospitalization and death rates were lowest in Manhattan, the most affluent borough, which is comprised of a predominately white population. The number of COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 persons was nearly two times greater in the Bronx than in Manhattan.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This study demonstrates that substantial inequities in COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates have emerged along racial and socioeconomic lines in New York City amid the pandemic. These disparities may be related to population-level differences in underlying comorbid illnesses, occupational exposures, socioeconomic determinants and race-based structural inequities across the boroughs. Public health and policy strategies should focus on mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and associated adverse outcomes, among vulnerable populations.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Further studies are needed to examine whether the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 is being borne by lower income and minority communities in other regions of the US.
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