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Sci Rep ; 12(1): 273, 2022 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1612208


The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionally impacted racial and ethnic minority communities in the United States. Patterns of these disparities may be changing over time as outbreaks occur in different communities. Utilizing electronic health record data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we estimated odds ratios, stratified by time period and region, for testing positive among 1,313,402 individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2 between February 12, 2020 and August 16, 2021 at VA medical facilities. We adjusted for personal characteristics (sex, age, rural/urban residence, VA facility) and a wide range of clinical characteristics that have been evaluated in prior SARS-CoV-2 reports and could potentially explain racial/ethnic disparities in SARS-CoV-2. Our study found racial and ethnic disparities for testing positive were most pronounced at the beginning of the pandemic and decreased over time. A key finding was that the disparity among Hispanic individuals attenuated but remained elevated, while disparities among Asian individuals reversed by March 1, 2021. The variation in racial and ethnic disparities in SARS-CoV-2 positivity by time and region, independent of underlying health status and other demographic characteristics in a nationwide cohort, provides important insight for strategies to prevent further outbreaks.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Risk Factors , Rural Population , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , United States/epidemiology , Urban Population , Young Adult
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(24)2021 12 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572470


COVID-19 disparities by area-level social determinants of health (SDH) have been a significant public health concern and may also be impacting U.S. Veterans. This retrospective analysis was designed to inform optimal care and prevention strategies at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and utilized COVID-19 data from the VAs EHR and geographically linked county-level data from 18 area-based socioeconomic measures. The risk of testing positive with Veterans' county-level SDHs, adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, and facility characteristics, was calculated using generalized linear models. We found an exposure-response relationship whereby individual COVID-19 infection risk increased with each increasing quartile of adverse county-level SDH, such as the percentage of residents in a county without a college degree, eligible for Medicaid, and living in crowded housing.

COVID-19 , Veterans , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Determinants of Health , United States/epidemiology , United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Public Health Rep ; 136(4): 483-492, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171653


OBJECTIVE: COVID-19 disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States. We evaluated characteristics associated with obtaining a COVID-19 test from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and receiving a positive test result for COVID-19. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of 6 292 800 veterans in VHA care at 130 VHA medical facilities. We assessed the number of tests for SARS-CoV-2 administered by the VHA (n = 822 934) and the number of positive test results (n = 82 094) from February 8 through December 28, 2020. We evaluated associations of COVID-19 testing and test positivity with demographic characteristics of veterans, adjusting for facility characteristics, comorbidities, and county-level area-based socioeconomic measures using nested generalized linear models. RESULTS: In fully adjusted models, veterans who were female, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, urban, and low income and had a disability had an increased likelihood of obtaining a COVID-19 test, and veterans who were Asian had a decreased likelihood of obtaining a COVID-19 test. Compared with veterans who were White, veterans who were Black/African American (risk ratio [RR] = 1.23; 95% CI, 1.19-1.27) and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (RR = 1.13; 95% CI, 1.05-1.21) had an increased likelihood of receiving a positive test result. Hispanic/Latino veterans had a 43% higher likelihood of receiving a positive test result than non-Hispanic/Latino veterans did. CONCLUSIONS: Although veterans have access to subsidized health care at the VHA, the increased risk of receiving a positive test result for COVID-19 among Black and Hispanic/Latino veterans, despite receiving more tests than White and non-Hispanic/Latino veterans, suggests that other factors (eg, social inequities) are driving disparities in COVID-19 prevalence.

COVID-19 Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/ethnology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Veterans , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Odds Ratio , Retrospective Studies , Social Determinants of Health/ethnology , Socioeconomic Factors , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult