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Working Paper Series - National Bureau of Economic Research (Massachusetts)|2021. (w29021):unpaginated. 15 ref. ; 2021.
Article in English | CAB Abstracts | ID: covidwho-1760220


During the COVID-19 epidemic, many health professionals started using mass communication on social media to relay critical information and persuade individuals to adopt preventative health behaviors. Our group of clinicians and nurses developed and recorded short video messages to encourage viewers to stay home for the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. The researchers then conducted a two-stage clustered randomized controlled trial in 820 counties (covering 13 States) in the United States of a large-scale Facebook ad campaign disseminating these messages. In the first level of randomization, the researchers randomly divided the counties into two groups: high intensity and low intensity. In the second level, the researchers randomly assigned zip codes to either treatment or control such that 75% of zip codes in high intensity counties received the treatment, while 25% of zip codes in low intensity counties received the treatment. In each treated zip code, the researchers sent the ad to as many Facebook subscribers as possible (11,954,109 users received at least one ad at Thanksgiving and 23,302,290 users received at least one ad at Christmas). The first primary outcome was aggregate holiday travel, measured using mobile phone location data, available at the county level: the researchers find that average distance travelled in high-intensity counties changed by -0.993 percentage points (95% CI -1.616, -0.371, p-value 0.002) the three days before each holiday. The second primary outcome was COVID-19 infection at the zip-code level: COVID-19 infections recorded in the two-week period starting five days post-holiday declined by 3.5 percent (adjusted 95% CI [-6.2 percent, -0.7 percent], p-value 0.013) in intervention zip codes compared to control zip codes.

Working Paper Series National Bureau of Economic Research ; 2021.
Article in English | GIM | ID: covidwho-1760219


We measure inequities from the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality and hospitalizations in the United States during the early months of the outbreak. We discuss challenges in measuring health outcomes and health inequality, some of which are specific to COVID-19 and others that complicate attribution during most large health shocks. As in past epidemics, pre-existing biological and social vulnerabilities profoundly influenced the distribution of disease. In addition to the elderly, Hispanic, Black and Native American communities were disproportionately affected by the virus, particularly when assessed using the years of potential life lost metric. For example, Hispanic and Black Americans in 2020 saw 39.5 and 25 percent increases in excess mortality relative to trend, compared to a less than 15 percent increase for Whites;we find losses in potential years of life three to four times larger among Hispanic and Black compared to White Americans. Individual-level data from a commercially insured population show that otherwise similar Black and Hispanic enrollees were hospitalized due to COVID-19 at a higher rate than White enrollees. We provide a conceptual framework and initial empirical analysis which seek to shed light on contributors to pandemic-related health inequality, and suggest areas for future research.

Journal of Economic Perspectives ; 35(3):25-45, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1346323