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1.
Rural Remote Health ; 21(3): 6596, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1579427

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Face masks are widely recommended as a COVID-19 prevention strategy. State mask mandates have generally reduced the spread of the disease, but decisions to wear a mask depend on many factors. Recent increases in case rates in rural areas following initial outbreaks in more densely populated areas highlight the need to focus on prevention and education. Messaging about disease risk has faced challenges in rural areas in the past. While surges in cases within some communities are likely an impetus for behavior change, rising case rates likely explain only part of mask-wearing decisions. The current study examined the relationship between county-level indicators of rurality and mask wearing in the USA. METHODS: National data from the New York Times' COVID-19 cross-sectional mask survey was used to identify the percentage of a county's residents who reported always/frequently wearing a mask (2-14 July 2020). The New York Times' COVID-19 data repository was used to calculate county-level daily case rates for the 2 weeks preceding the mask survey (15 June - 1 July 2020), and defined county rurality using the Index of Relative Rurality (n=3103 counties). Multivariate linear regression was used to predict mask wearing across levels of rurality. The model was adjusted for daily case rates and other relevant county-level confounders, including county-level indicators of age, race/ethnicity, gender, political partisanship, income inequality, and whether each county was subject to a statewide mask mandate. RESULTS: Large clusters of counties with high rurality and low mask wearing were observed in the Midwest, upper Midwest, and mountainous West. Holding daily case rates and other county characteristics constant, the predicted probability of wearing a mask decreased significantly as counties became more rural (β=-0.560; p<0.0001). CONCLUSION: Upticks in COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural areas are expected to continue, and localized outbreaks will likely occur indefinitely. The present findings highlight the need to better understand the mechanisms underlying perceptions of COVID-19 risk in rural areas. Dissemination of scientifically correct and consistent information is critical during national emergencies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Status Disparities , Masks/trends , Rural Population/trends , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Linear Models , Male , Severity of Illness Index , Socioeconomic Factors
2.
PLoS Med ; 18(10): e1003807, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484840

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We examined whether key sociodemographic and clinical risk factors for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and mortality changed over time in a population-based cohort study. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In a cohort of 9,127,673 persons enrolled in the United States Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, we evaluated the independent associations of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics with SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 216,046), SARS-CoV-2-related mortality (n = 10,230), and case fatality at monthly intervals between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. VA enrollees had a mean age of 61 years (SD 17.7) and were predominantly male (90.9%) and White (64.5%), with 14.6% of Black race and 6.3% of Hispanic ethnicity. Black (versus White) race was strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 5.10, [95% CI 4.65 to 5.59], p-value <0.001), mortality (AOR 3.85 [95% CI 3.30 to 4.50], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.56, 95% CI 2.23 to 2.93, p-value < 0.001) in February to March 2020, but these associations were attenuated and not statistically significant by November 2020 for infection (AOR 1.03 [95% CI 1.00 to 1.07] p-value = 0.05) and mortality (AOR 1.08 [95% CI 0.96 to 1.20], p-value = 0.21) and were reversed for case fatality (AOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.95, p-value = 0.005). American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN versus White) race was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in April and May 2020; this association declined over time and reversed by March 2021 (AOR 0.66 [95% CI 0.51 to 0.85] p-value = 0.004). Hispanic (versus non-Hispanic) ethnicity was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality during almost every time period, with no evidence of attenuation over time. Urban (versus rural) residence was associated with higher risk of infection (AOR 2.02, [95% CI 1.83 to 2.22], p-value < 0.001), mortality (AOR 2.48 [95% CI 2.08 to 2.96], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.93 to 2.60, p-value < 0.001) in February to April 2020, but these associations attenuated over time and reversed by September 2020 (AOR 0.85, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.89, p-value < 0.001 for infection, AOR 0.72, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.83, p-value < 0.001 for mortality and AOR 0.81, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.93, p-value = 0.006 for case fatality). Throughout the observation period, high comorbidity burden, younger age, and obesity were consistently associated with infection, while high comorbidity burden, older age, and male sex were consistently associated with mortality. Limitations of the study include that changes over time in the associations of some risk factors may be affected by changes in the likelihood of testing for SARS-CoV-2 according to those risk factors; also, study results apply directly to VA enrollees who are predominantly male and have comprehensive healthcare and need to be confirmed in other populations. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that strongly positive associations of Black and AI/AN (versus White) race and urban (versus rural) residence with SARS-CoV-2 infection, mortality, and case fatality observed early in the pandemic were ameliorated or reversed by March 2021.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Population Surveillance , Rural Population/trends , United States Department of Veterans Affairs/trends , Urban Population/trends , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/economics , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality/trends , Population Surveillance/methods , Risk Factors , Socioeconomic Factors , United States/epidemiology
3.
Res Nurs Health ; 44(5): 767-775, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1293294

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on Black and rural populations with a mortality rate among Blacks three times that of Whites and both rural and Black populations experiencing limited access to COVID-19 resources. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the health, financial, and psychological impact of COVID-19 among rural White Appalachian and Black nonrural central Kentucky church congregants. Secondarily we sought to examine the association between sociodemographics and behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs regarding COVID-19 and intent to vaccinate. We used a cross sectional survey design developed with the constructs of the Health Belief and Theory of Planned Behavior models. The majority of the 942 respondents were ≥36 years. A total of 54% were from central Kentucky, while 47.5% were from Appalachia. Among all participants, the pandemic worsened anxiety and depression and delayed access to medical care. There were no associations between sociodemographics and practicing COVID-19 prevention behaviors. Appalachian region was associated with financial burden and delay in medical care (p = 0.03). Appalachian respondents had lower perceived benefit and attitude for COVID-19 prevention behaviors (p = 0.004 and <0.001, respectively). Among all respondents, the perceived risk of contracting COVID was high (54%), yet 33.2% indicated unlikeliness to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if offered. The COVID-19 pandemic had a differential impact on White rural and Black nonrural populations. Nurses and public health officials should assess knowledge and explore patient's attitudes regarding COVID-19 prevention behaviors, as well as advocate for public health resources to reduce the differential impact of COVID-19 on these at-risk populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Protestantism/psychology , Rural Population/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , /psychology , COVID-19/ethnology , COVID-19/psychology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Kentucky , Male , Middle Aged , Rural Population/trends , Surveys and Questionnaires
4.
Diabetes Metab Syndr ; 14(6): 1967-1972, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059518

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures to contain it have affected health care services globally. This study aims to assess the effect and urban-rural differences of COVID19 pandemic on diabetes care. METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted among persons with diabetes (PWDs) registered for care at a diabetes clinic of a tertiary care center in Southern India. We collected following information by telephonic interviews: physician consultations, access to diabetes medications and blood sugar tests, use of telemedicine services, out of pocket expenditure and psychological morbidity. RESULTS: A total of 350 PWDs were interviewed. Majority were male (78%) and from rural areas (79%). One fourth (24%) met any physician for diabetes care at least once during lockdown. PWDs from rural areas mainly consulted a physician in a private clinic (55%) compared to urban areas (26%). Two third (65%) availed medications from private medical shops. Almost half (46%) got their blood sugar tested during and majority of them (81%) reported unsatisfactory glycemic control. Only few (5%) was aware and three utilized telemedicine services. Almost all (99%) spent money (US $ 8.3) for diabetes care. One third (33%) had moderate or high psychological distress. CONCLUSIONS: Majority of PWDs did not consult a physician during lockdown. Cost of care was high. Measures to improve utilisation of telemedicine services and peripheral health facilities are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Glycemic Index/physiology , Quarantine/trends , Rural Population/trends , Tertiary Care Centers/trends , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/therapy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Diabetes Mellitus/blood , Diabetes Mellitus/therapy , Female , Humans , India/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Quarantine/methods , Risk Reduction Behavior , Telemedicine/methods , Telemedicine/trends
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