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Tae-Ho Yoon 1 Article
Effect of socioeconomic disparities on the risk of COVID-19 in 8 metropolitan cities in the 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;44:e2022107.   Published online November 15, 2022
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Socioeconomic disparities have been reported as major risk factors contributing to the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the community level. We conducted an epidemiological study on COVID-19 incidence risk using area-based deprivation indices (DIs) reflecting the characteristics of the susceptible population.
A database of the confirmed COVID-19 cases in 8 metropolitan cities in Korea from January 20, 2020 to December 31, 2021 was combined with area-based DI scores and standardized prevalence rates of diabetes and hypertension from the Korean Community Health Survey. Relative risk (RR) levels were estimated using a generalized linear model with a Poisson distribution by age group.
The risk of COVID-19 incidence generally increased with increasing age, especially in patients aged ≥75 years. The RR of COVID-19 incidence per interquartile range increment of the composite deprivation index (composite DI) was 1.54 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.34 to 1.70). Notably, in the first wave, the risk of COVID-19 incidence was approximately 3 times higher in the region with the lowest socioeconomic status than in the region with the highest status (RR, 3.08; 95% CI, 2.42 to 3.78 based on the the composite DI and RR, 3.13; 95% CI, 2.53 to 3.83 based on the social deprivation index).
This study provides scientific evidence that socioeconomic deprivation is an important risk factor for the spread of COVID-19. This finding suggests that a mid-term to long-term strategy is needed to protect susceptible populations and reduce the burden of COVID-19 in the community.
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