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SSM Popul Health ; : 101299, 2022 Nov 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2122818


Background: Populations who are incarcerated have experienced disproportionately high coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) mortality rates compared to the general population. However, mortality rates by race/ethnicity from federal, state, and local carceral settings are largely unavailable due to unregulated reporting; therefore, racial/ethnic inequities have yet to be examined. We aimed to estimate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mortality rates among individuals incarcerated in U.S. state prisons by race and ethnicity (RE). Methods: Freedom of Information Act requests to state Departments of Corrections were used to identify deaths from COVID-19 among incarcerated adults occurring from March 1-October 1, 2020. We requested race, ethnicity, and age specific data on deaths and custody populations; sufficient data to calculate age-adjusted rates were obtained for 11 state systems. Race and ethnic specific unadjusted deaths rates per 100,000 persons were calculated overall and by state, based on March 1, 2020 custody populations. Rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) compared aggregated age-adjusted death rates by race and ethnicity, with White individuals as the reference group. Results: Of all COVID-related deaths in U.S. prisons through October 2020, 23.35% (272 of 1165) were captured in our analyses. The average age at COVID-19 death was 63 years (SD = 10 years) and was significantly lower among Black (60 years, SD = 11 years) compared to White adults (66 years, SD = 10 years; p < 0.001). In age-standardized analysis, COVID-19 death rates were significantly higher among Black (RR = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.25-2.99), Hispanic (RR = 1.81, 95% CI: 1.10-2.96) and those of Other racial and ethnic groups (RR = 2.60, 95% CI: 1.01-6.67) when compared to White individuals. Conclusions: Age-standardized death rates were higher among incarcerated Black, Hispanic and those of Other racial and ethnic groups compared to their White counterparts. Greater data transparency from all carceral systems is needed to better understand populations at disproportionate risk of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.

N Engl J Med ; 387(21): 1935-1946, 2022 11 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2106628


BACKGROUND: In February 2022, Massachusetts rescinded a statewide universal masking policy in public schools, and many Massachusetts school districts lifted masking requirements during the subsequent weeks. In the greater Boston area, only two school districts - the Boston and neighboring Chelsea districts - sustained masking requirements through June 2022. The staggered lifting of masking requirements provided an opportunity to examine the effect of universal masking policies on the incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) in schools. METHODS: We used a difference-in-differences analysis for staggered policy implementation to compare the incidence of Covid-19 among students and staff in school districts in the greater Boston area that lifted masking requirements with the incidence in districts that sustained masking requirements during the 2021-2022 school year. Characteristics of the school districts were also compared. RESULTS: Before the statewide masking policy was rescinded, trends in the incidence of Covid-19 were similar across school districts. During the 15 weeks after the statewide masking policy was rescinded, the lifting of masking requirements was associated with an additional 44.9 cases per 1000 students and staff (95% confidence interval, 32.6 to 57.1), which corresponded to an estimated 11,901 cases and to 29.4% of the cases in all districts during that time. Districts that chose to sustain masking requirements longer tended to have school buildings that were older and in worse condition and to have more students per classroom than districts that chose to lift masking requirements earlier. In addition, these districts had higher percentages of low-income students, students with disabilities, and students who were English-language learners, as well as higher percentages of Black and Latinx students and staff. Our results support universal masking as an important strategy for reducing Covid-19 incidence in schools and loss of in-person school days. As such, we believe that universal masking may be especially useful for mitigating effects of structural racism in schools, including potential deepening of educational inequities. CONCLUSIONS: Among school districts in the greater Boston area, the lifting of masking requirements was associated with an additional 44.9 Covid-19 cases per 1000 students and staff during the 15 weeks after the statewide masking policy was rescinded.

COVID-19 , Health Policy , Masks , School Health Services , Universal Precautions , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Incidence , Poverty/statistics & numerical data , Schools/legislation & jurisprudence , Schools/statistics & numerical data , Students/legislation & jurisprudence , Students/statistics & numerical data , Health Policy/legislation & jurisprudence , Masks/statistics & numerical data , School Health Services/legislation & jurisprudence , School Health Services/statistics & numerical data , Occupational Groups/legislation & jurisprudence , Occupational Groups/statistics & numerical data , Universal Precautions/legislation & jurisprudence , Universal Precautions/statistics & numerical data , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/legislation & jurisprudence , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data