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Jinhwa Jang 1 Article
Effect of socioeconomic disparities on the risk of COVID-19 in eight metropolitan cities, the Republic of Korea: a community-based study
Myung-Jae Hwang, Shin Young Park, Tae-Ho Yoon, Jinhwa Jang, Seon-Young Lee, Myeongsu Yoo, Yoo-Yeon Kim, Hae-Kwan Cheong, Donghyok Kwon, Jong-Hun Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2022;e2022107.   Published online November 15, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022107    [Accepted]
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Abstract
Objectives
Socioeconomic disparities have been reported as the main risk factors contributing to the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the community level. We conducted an epidemiological study on the risk of COVID-19 incidence using area deprivation indices (DIs) depending on the characteristics of the susceptible population.
Methods
The database of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in eight metropolitan cities, the Republic of Korea, from January 20, 2020 to December 31, 2021, was combined with the area DIs and standardized prevalence of diabetes and hypertension from the community health survey. The relative risk (RR) was estimated using a generalized linear model with Poisson distribution by age group.
Results
The risk of COVID-19 incidence increased with the increasing age group, especially in patients aged ≥75 years. The RR per interquartile range increment of total social deprivation index (total SDI) was 1.54 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.34–1.70) in the COVID-19 incidence. Especially, the risk of COVID-19 incidence in the first wave was about three times higher in the region belonging to the lowest socioeconomic status than in the region with the highest socioeconomic status. The risk was 3.08 (95% CI: 2.42 to 3.78) based on the total SDI and 3.13 (95% CI: 2.53 to 3.83) based on the social deprivation index.
Conclusions
This study provides scientific evidence that socioeconomic inequity is an important risk factor for the spread of COVID-19. This finding suggests that a mid-to-long-term strategy is needed for the susceptible population to reduce the burden of COVID-19 in the community.
Summary
Korean summary
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Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health