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1.
Disability and Health Journal ; : 101443, 2023.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2178008

ABSTRACT

Background The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted disabled people, especially those who are members of marginalized communities that were already denied access to the resources and opportunities necessary to ensure health equity prior to the pandemic. Objective Compare COVID-19 impact on basic needs access among households with and without disabled adults. Methods An online survey was distributed to households with children enrolled in one of 30 socially vulnerable elementary or middle schools in San Diego County, California. We measured disability using the single item Global Activities Limitations Indicator. We measured pandemic impacts on basic needs access using the RADx-UP common data elements toolkit. We then assessed number of impact items reported by household disability using multivariable linear regression, adjusting for household income, household size, education, parent gender, and child's ethnicity. Results Of 304 participants, 41% had at least one disabled household member. Participants reporting a disabled household member were more likely to report challenges accessing basic needs such as food, housing, healthcare, transportation, medication, and stable income during the pandemic (all p<0.05). Difficulty accessing basic needs was significantly associated with household income and parent gender in the final regression model. Conclusions Households with a disabled member were significantly more likely to experience difficulty accessing basic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has important implications for the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has on disabled people, especially those from low-income communities that already face barriers to accessing resources. To improve COVID-19 outcomes for disabled people, we must focus on meeting their basic needs.

2.
Transl Behav Med ; 2022 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2087847

ABSTRACT

Rapid identification and isolation/quarantine of COVID-19 cases or close contacts, respectively, is a vital tool to support safe, in-person learning. However, safe isolation or quarantine for a young child also necessitates home confinement for at least one adult caregiver, as well as rapid learning material development by the teacher to minimize learning loss. The purpose of this study is to better understand barriers and supports to student home confinement. We conducted a mixed-methods study using focus group discussions and a self-administered online survey with parents and staff members from 12 elementary schools and childcare sites across San Diego County serving low-income and socially vulnerable families. Focus group participants reported that mental distress and loneliness, learning loss, childcare, food, income loss, and overcrowded housing were major barriers related to home confinement. The experiences described by FGD participants were prevalent in a concurrent community survey: 25% of participants reported that isolation would be extremely difficult for a household member who tested positive or was exposed to COVID-19, and 20% were extremely concerned about learning loss while in isolation or quarantine. Our findings suggest that there are serious structural impediments to safely completing the entire recommended course of isolation or quarantine, and that the potential for isolation or quarantine may also lead to increased hesitancy to access diagnostic testing.


BACKGROUND: During the COVID-19 pandemic, home confinement (isolation and quarantine) are important public health tools to keep children learning in-person at schools. However, isolation or quarantine for young children also means that often their caregivers must also go into home confinement, as well as forcing teachers to adapt their lessons to online teaching. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to better understand what makes home confinement comfortable or difficult for students and their families. METHODS: We did focus group discussions and shared an online survey with parents and staff members from 12 elementary schools and childcare centers across San Diego County vulnerable families. RESULTS: Focus group participants said that mental distress and loneliness, learning loss, childcare, food, income loss, and overcrowded housing made home confinement hard to do. Also 25% of survey participants said that isolation would be difficult for a household member who tested positive or was exposed to COVID-19, and 20% were really concerned about their child's learning loss if the family had to isolate or do quarantine. CONCLUSIONS: Our study's results suggest that there are serious structural issues for school families to safely go into isolation or quarantine, and because of this may make families more hesitant to get tested for COVID-19.

3.
BMC Med Res Methodol ; 22(1): 237, 2022 09 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2038661

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Public health research frequently relies on collaborations with community-based organizations, and these partnerships can be essential to the success of a project. However, while public health ethics and oversight policies have historically focused on ensuring that individual subjects are protected from unethical or unfair practices, there are few guidelines to protect the organizations which facilitate relationships with - and are frequently composed of - these same vulnerable populations. As universities, governments, and donors place a renewed emphasis on the need for community engaged research to address systematic drivers of health inequity, it is vital that the ways in which research is conducted does not uphold the same intersecting systems of gender, race, and class oppression which led to the very same health inequities of interest. METHODS: To understand how traditional notions of public health research ethics might be expanded to encompass partnerships with organizations as well as individuals, we conducted qualitative interviews with 39 staff members (executive directors and frontline) at community-based organizations that primarily serve people who use drugs, Black men who have sex with men, and sex workers across the United States from January 2016 - August 2017. We also conducted 11 in-depth interviews with professional academic researchers with experience partnering with CBOs that serve similar populations. Transcripts were analyzed thematically using emergent codes and a priori codes derived from the Belmont Report. RESULTS: The concepts of respect, beneficence, and justice are a starting point for collaboration with CBOs, but participants deepened them beyond traditional regulatory concepts to consider the ethics of relationships, care, and solidarity. These concepts could and should apply to the treatment of organizations that participate in research just as they apply to individual human subjects, although their implementation will differ when applied to CBOs vs individual human subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Academic-CBO partnerships are likely to be more successful for both academics and CBOs if academic researchers work to center individual-level relationship building that is mutually respectful and grounded in cultural humility. More support from academic institutions and ethical oversight entities can enable more ethically grounded relationships between academic researchers, academic institutions, and community based organizations.


Subject(s)
Sex Workers , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Ethics, Research , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Research Personnel , United States
4.
mSystems ; 7(4): e0010922, 2022 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1891744

ABSTRACT

A promising approach to help students safely return to in person learning is through the application of sentinel cards for accurate high resolution environmental monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 traces indoors. Because SARS-CoV-2 RNA can persist for up to a week on several indoor surface materials, there is a need for increased temporal resolution to determine whether consecutive surface positives arise from new infection events or continue to report past events. Cleaning sentinel cards after sampling would provide the needed resolution but might interfere with assay performance. We tested the effect of three cleaning solutions (BZK wipes, Wet Wipes, RNase Away) at three different viral loads: "high" (4 × 104 GE/mL), "medium" (1 × 104 GE/mL), and "low" (2.5 × 103 GE/mL). RNase Away, chosen as a positive control, was the most effective cleaning solution on all three viral loads. Wet Wipes were found to be more effective than BZK wipes in the medium viral load condition. The low viral load condition was easily reset with all three cleaning solutions. These findings will enable temporal SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in indoor environments where transmission risk of the virus is high and the need to avoid individual-level sampling for privacy or compliance reasons exists. IMPORTANCE Because SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, persists on surfaces, testing swabs taken from surfaces is useful as a monitoring tool. This approach is especially valuable in school settings, where there are cost and privacy concerns that are eliminated by taking a single sample from a classroom. However, the virus persists for days to weeks on surface samples, so it is impossible to tell whether positive detection events on consecutive days are a persistent signal or new infectious cases and therefore whether the positive individuals have been successfully removed from the classroom. We compare several methods for cleaning "sentinel cards" to show that this approach can be used to identify new SARS-CoV-2 signals day to day. The results are important for determining how to monitor classrooms and other indoor environments for SARS-CoV-2 virus.

5.
mSystems ; 7(4): e0010322, 2022 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1891743

ABSTRACT

Surface sampling for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection has shown considerable promise to detect exposure of built environments to infected individuals shedding virus who would not otherwise be detected. Here, we compare two popular sampling media (VTM and SDS) and two popular workflows (Thermo and PerkinElmer) for implementation of a surface sampling program suitable for environmental monitoring in public schools. We find that the SDS/Thermo pipeline shows superior sensitivity and specificity, but that the VTM/PerkinElmer pipeline is still sufficient to support surface surveillance in any indoor setting with stable cohorts of occupants (e.g., schools, prisons, group homes, etc.) and may be used to leverage existing investments in infrastructure. IMPORTANCE The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of over 5 million people worldwide. Due to high density occupancy of indoor spaces for prolonged periods of time, schools are often of concern for transmission, leading to widespread school closings to combat pandemic spread when cases rise. Since pediatric clinical testing is expensive and difficult from a consent perspective, we have deployed surface sampling in SASEA (Safer at School Early Alert), which allows for detection of SARS-CoV-2 from surfaces within a classroom. In this previous work, we developed a high-throughput method which requires robotic automation and specific reagents that are often not available for public health laboratories such as the San Diego County Public Health Laboratory (SDPHL). Therefore, we benchmarked our method (Thermo pipeline) against SDPHL's (PerkinElmer) more widely used method for the detection and prediction of SARS-CoV-2 exposure. While our method shows superior sensitivity (false-negative rate of 9% versus 27% for SDPHL), the SDPHL pipeline is sufficient to support surface surveillance in indoor settings. These findings are important since they show that existing investments in infrastructure can be leveraged to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 not in just the classroom but also in prisons, nursing homes, and other high-risk, indoor settings.

6.
mSystems ; 7(3): e0141121, 2022 Jun 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846330

ABSTRACT

Monitoring severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on surfaces is emerging as an important tool for identifying past exposure to individuals shedding viral RNA. Our past work demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) signals from surfaces can identify when infected individuals have touched surfaces and when they have been present in hospital rooms or schools. However, the sensitivity and specificity of surface sampling as a method for detecting the presence of a SARS-CoV-2 positive individual, as well as guidance about where to sample, has not been established. To address these questions and to test whether our past observations linking SARS-CoV-2 abundance to Rothia sp. in hospitals also hold in a residential setting, we performed a detailed spatial sampling of three isolation housing units, assessing each sample for SARS-CoV-2 abundance by RT-qPCR, linking the results to 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequences (to assess the bacterial community at each location), and to the Cq value of the contemporaneous clinical test. Our results showed that the highest SARS-CoV-2 load in this setting is on touched surfaces, such as light switches and faucets, but a detectable signal was present in many untouched surfaces (e.g., floors) that may be more relevant in settings, such as schools where mask-wearing is enforced. As in past studies, the bacterial community predicts which samples are positive for SARS-CoV-2, with Rothia sp. showing a positive association. IMPORTANCE Surface sampling for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is increasingly being used to locate infected individuals. We tested which indoor surfaces had high versus low viral loads by collecting 381 samples from three residential units where infected individuals resided, and interpreted the results in terms of whether SARS-CoV-2 was likely transmitted directly (e.g., touching a light switch) or indirectly (e.g., by droplets or aerosols settling). We found the highest loads where the subject touched the surface directly, although enough virus was detected on indirectly contacted surfaces to make such locations useful for sampling (e.g., in schools, where students did not touch the light switches and also wore masks such that they had no opportunity to touch their face and then the object). We also documented links between the bacteria present in a sample and the SARS-CoV-2 virus, consistent with earlier studies.

7.
SSM Popul Health ; 18: 101110, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1815186

ABSTRACT

Background: While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people worldwide, refugee communities are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic's social, economic and health impacts. This study assessed factors associated with increases in adverse community effects of COVID-19 in a refugee community in California. Methods: This study uses data from a cross-sectional survey developed and administered as part of a participatory action research project by a refugee community organization in San Diego, California. Data was collected between September and November 2020 in a sample of refugee community members (n = 517). Multivariable Poisson regression models measured associations between sociodemographic and acculturation measures with seven adverse community effects overall and stratified by duration of residence in the United States. Adverse community effects included job/wage loss, bank/cash access barriers, food insecurity, school interruptions, household violence, substance misuse and poor mental health. Results: Refugee community members reported an average of 2.1 adverse community effects that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, with job/wage loss and poor mental health the most prevalent (84% and 49%). Characteristics associated with reporting increased numbers of adverse community effects included being younger, female, childless, not actively seeking employment, living in the US for six or more years and speaking English at home. Stratified analyses show that these associations were concentrated in refugees who had lived in the US for at least six years. Conclusion: Refugee communities have experienced pervasive job losses and worsening mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and these effects are concentrated in respondents who have lived in the US for six or more years. Additional targeted support is needed to ensure that refugees who have lived in the US for longer durations have the financial and social support needed to cope with the unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

8.
JMIR Res Protoc ; 11(4): e31189, 2022 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775568

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Intimate partner and sexual violence are pervasive public health issues on college and university campuses in the United States. Research is recommended for creating and maintaining effective, relevant, and acceptable prevention programs and response services for student survivors. OBJECTIVE: The University of California (UC) Speaks Up study aims to examine factors contributing to intimate partner and sexual violence on 3 UC campuses and use the findings to develop and test interventions and policies to prevent violence, promote health, and lay the groundwork for subsequent large-scale quantitative research. METHODS: A mixed methods study was conducted at UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Barbara. Phase I (2017-2020) involved a resource audit; cultural consensus modeling of students' perceptions of sexual consent; in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions with students to understand perceptions of campus environment related to experiences as well as prevention of and responses to violence; and IDIs with faculty, staff, and community stakeholders to investigate institutional and community arrangements influencing students' lives and experiences. Phase II (2020-ongoing) involves IDIs with student survivors to assess the use and perceptions of campus and community services. Qualitative content analysis is used to generate substantive codes and subthemes that emerge, using a thematic analysis approach. RESULTS: In January 2019, we conducted 149 free-listing interviews and 214 web-based surveys with undergraduate and graduate and professional students for the cultural consensus modeling. Between February 2019 and June 2019, 179 IDIs were conducted with 86 (48%) undergraduate students, 21 (11.7%) graduate and professional students, 34 (19%) staff members, 27 (15.1%) faculty members, and 11 (6.1%) community stakeholders, and 35 focus group discussions (27/35, 77% with undergraduate students and 8/35, 23% with graduate and professional students) were conducted with 201 participants. Since September 2020, 50% (15/30) of the planned student survivor interviews have been conducted. This segment of data collection was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recruitment is ongoing. CONCLUSIONS: Data analysis and phase II data collection are ongoing. The findings will be used to develop and test interventions for preventing violence, promoting health and well-being, and ensuring that survivor services are relevant and acceptable to and meet the needs of all individuals in the campus community, including those who are typically understudied. The findings will also be used to prepare for rigorous, UC-system-wide public health prevention research. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/31189.

9.
[Unspecified Source]; 2020.
Non-conventional in English | [Unspecified Source] | ID: grc-750456

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the associations between COVID-19 mortality and immigrant and farm worker population at the county level. METHODS: We used publicly accessible datasets to build a series of spatial autoregressive models assessing county level associations between COVID-19 mortality and (1) Percentage of Non-English speaking households, (2) percentage of individuals engaged in hired farm work, (3) percentage of uninsured individuals under the age of 65, and (3) percentage of individuals living at or below the poverty line. RESULTS: In urban counties (n=114), only population density was significantly associated with COVID19 mortality (b = 0.21, p <0.001). In non-urban counties (n=2,629), all hypothesized social determinants were significantly associated with higher levels of mortality. Percentage of uninsured individuals was associated with lower reported COVID-19 mortality (b = -0.36, p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who do not speak English, individuals engaged in farm work, and individuals living in poverty may be at heightened risk for COVID-19 mortality in non-urban counties. Mortality among the uninsured may be being systematically undercounted in county and national level surveillance.

10.
mSystems ; 6(6): e0113621, 2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1494994

ABSTRACT

Environmental monitoring in public spaces can be used to identify surfaces contaminated by persons with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and inform appropriate infection mitigation responses. Research groups have reported detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on surfaces days or weeks after the virus has been deposited, making it difficult to estimate when an infected individual may have shed virus onto a SARS-CoV-2-positive surface, which in turn complicates the process of establishing effective quarantine measures. In this study, we determined that reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) detection of viral RNA from heat-inactivated particles experiences minimal decay over 7 days of monitoring on eight out of nine surfaces tested. The properties of the studied surfaces result in RT-qPCR signatures that can be segregated into two material categories, rough and smooth, where smooth surfaces have a lower limit of detection. RT-qPCR signal intensity (average quantification cycle [Cq]) can be correlated with surface viral load using only one linear regression model per material category. The same experiment was performed with untreated viral particles on one surface from each category, with essentially identical results. The stability of RT-qPCR viral signal demonstrates the need to clean monitored surfaces after sampling to establish temporal resolution. Additionally, these findings can be used to minimize the number of materials and time points tested and allow for the use of heat-inactivated viral particles when optimizing environmental monitoring methods. IMPORTANCE Environmental monitoring is an important tool for public health surveillance, particularly in settings with low rates of diagnostic testing. Time between sampling public environments, such as hospitals or schools, and notifying stakeholders of the results should be minimal, allowing decisions to be made toward containing outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Safer At School Early Alert program (SASEA) (https://saseasystem.org/), a large-scale environmental monitoring effort in elementary school and child care settings, has processed >13,000 surface samples for SARS-CoV-2, detecting viral signals from 574 samples. However, consecutive detection events necessitated the present study to establish appropriate response practices around persistent viral signals on classroom surfaces. Other research groups and clinical labs developing environmental monitoring methods may need to establish their own correlation between RT-qPCR results and viral load, but this work provides evidence justifying simplified experimental designs, like reduced testing materials and the use of heat-inactivated viral particles.

12.
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0240151, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-868672

ABSTRACT

As of August 2020, the United States is the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emerging data suggests that "essential" workers, who are disproportionately more likely to be racial/ethnic minorities and immigrants, bear a disproportionate degree of risk. We used publicly available data to build a series of spatial autoregressive models assessing county level associations between COVID-19 mortality and (1) percentage of individuals engaged in farm work, (2) percentage of households without a fluent, adult English-speaker, (3) percentage of uninsured individuals under the age of 65, and (4) percentage of individuals living at or below the federal poverty line. We further adjusted these models for total population, population density, and number of days since the first reported case in a given county. We found that across all counties that had reported a case of COVID-19 as of July 12, 2020 (n = 3024), a higher percentage of farmworkers, a higher percentage of residents living in poverty, higher density, higher population, and a higher percentage of residents over the age of 65 were all independently and significantly associated with a higher number of deaths in a county. In urban counties (n = 115), a higher percentage of farmworkers, higher density, and larger population were all associated with a higher number of deaths, while lower rates of insurance coverage in a county was independently associated with fewer deaths. In non-urban counties (n = 2909), these same patterns held true, with higher percentages of residents living in poverty and senior residents also significantly associated with more deaths. Taken together, our findings suggest that farm workers may face unique risks of contracting and dying from COVID-19, and that these risks are independent of poverty, insurance, or linguistic accessibility of COVID-19 health campaigns.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Socioeconomic Factors , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Demography/statistics & numerical data , Emigrants and Immigrants/statistics & numerical data , Farmers/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Insurance Coverage/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , United States
13.
medRxiv ; 2020 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-637921

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the associations between COVID-19 mortality and immigrant and farm worker population at the county level. METHODS: We used publicly accessible datasets to build a series of spatial autoregressive models assessing county level associations between COVID-19 mortality and (1) Percentage of Non-English speaking households, (2) percentage of individuals engaged in hired farm work, (3) percentage of uninsured individuals under the age of 65, and (3) percentage of individuals living at or below the poverty line. RESULTS: In urban counties (n=114), only population density was significantly associated with COVID19 mortality (b = 0.21, p <0.001). In non-urban counties (n=2,629), all hypothesized social determinants were significantly associated with higher levels of mortality. Percentage of uninsured individuals was associated with lower reported COVID-19 mortality (b = -0.36, p = 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Individuals who do not speak English, individuals engaged in farm work, and individuals living in poverty may be at heightened risk for COVID-19 mortality in non-urban counties. Mortality among the uninsured may be being systematically undercounted in county and national level surveillance.

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