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Am J Prev Med ; 61(3): 369-376, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258300


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare services, reducing opportunities to conduct routine hepatitis C virus antibody screening, clinical care, and treatment. Therefore, people living with undiagnosed hepatitis C virus during the pandemic may later become identified at more advanced stages of the disease, leading to higher morbidity and mortality rates. Further, unidentified hepatitis C virus-infected individuals may continue to unknowingly transmit the virus to others. METHODS: To assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, data were evaluated from a large national reference clinical laboratory and from national estimates of dispensed prescriptions for hepatitis C virus treatment. Investigators estimated the average number of hepatitis C virus antibody tests, hepatitis C virus antibody-positive test results, and hepatitis C virus RNA-positive test results by month in January-July for 2018 and 2019, compared with the same months in 2020. To assess the impact of hepatitis C virus treatment, dispensed hepatitis C virus direct-acting antiretroviral medications were examined for the same time periods. Statistical analyses of trends were performed using negative binomial models. RESULTS: Compared with the 2018 and 2019 months, hepatitis C virus antibody testing volume decreased 59% during April 2020 and rebounded to a 6% reduction in July 2020. The number of hepatitis C virus RNA-positive results fell by 62% in March 2020 and remained 39% below the baseline by July 2020. For hepatitis C virus treatment, prescriptions decreased 43% in May, 37% in June, and 38% in July relative to the corresponding months in 2018 and 2019. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, continued public health messaging, interventions and outreach programs to restore hepatitis C virus testing and treatment to prepandemic levels, and maintenance of public health efforts to eliminate hepatitis C infections remain important.

COVID-19 , Hepatitis C , Hepacivirus , Hepatitis C/diagnosis , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(13): 483-489, 2021 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1168278


Long-standing systemic social, economic, and environmental inequities in the United States have put many communities of color (racial and ethnic minority groups) at increased risk for exposure to and infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as more severe COVID-19-related outcomes (1-3). Because race and ethnicity are missing for a proportion of reported COVID-19 cases, counties with substantial missing information often are excluded from analyses of disparities (4). Thus, as a complement to these case-based analyses, population-based studies can help direct public health interventions. Using data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC), CDC identified counties where five racial and ethnic minority groups (Hispanic or Latino [Hispanic], non-Hispanic Black or African American [Black], non-Hispanic Asian [Asian], non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native [AI/AN], and non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander [NH/PI]) might have experienced high COVID-19 impact during April 1-December 22, 2020. These counties had high 2-week COVID-19 incidences (>100 new cases per 100,000 persons in the total population) and percentages of persons in five racial and ethnic groups that were larger than the national percentages (denoted as "large"). During April 1-14, a total of 359 (11.4%) of 3,142 U.S. counties reported high COVID-19 incidence, including 28.7% of counties with large percentages of Asian persons and 27.9% of counties with large percentages of Black persons. During August 5-18, high COVID-19 incidence was reported by 2,034 (64.7%) counties, including 92.4% of counties with large percentages of Black persons and 74.5% of counties with large percentages of Hispanic persons. During December 9-22, high COVID-19 incidence was reported by 3,114 (99.1%) counties, including >95% of those with large percentages of persons in each of the five racial and ethnic minority groups. The findings of this population-based analysis complement those of case-based analyses. In jurisdictions with substantial missing race and ethnicity information, this method could be applied to smaller geographic areas, to identify communities of color that might be experiencing high potential COVID-19 impact. As areas with high rates of new infection change over time, public health efforts can be tailored to the needs of communities of color as the pandemic evolves and integrated with longer-term plans to improve health equity.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Minority Groups/statistics & numerical data , /statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/ethnology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Incidence , Risk Assessment , United States/epidemiology