Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has had mental health, social, and economic implications among communities with high levels of social disadvantage; this may have impacted community violence rates. The objective of this study was to characterize overall trends in assault and social disadvantage of patients experiencing assault before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: All trauma activations at a level one trauma center serving the entire southeast Louisiana region were included during March–August pre-COVID (2018–2019) and during COVID (2020). ICD-10 E-codes were used to identify trauma intent (assault vs. other). Assaults in this context are defined as physical injuries caused by an act of violence wherein the perpetrator was suspected or confirmed to have intended harm, injury, or death to the victim. Social disadvantage was assessed using the Area Deprivation Index (ADI). Change in the monthly rate of assault-trauma activations was assessed using negative binomial regression with adjustment for race, gender, and injury intent. The study was reviewed and approved by the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Institutional Review Board. Results: A total of 4,233 trauma activations were included. The majority of activations occurred among men. Assaults increased from 27.5% of all activations pre-Covid to 35.6% during the pandemic. Penetrating trauma similarly increased from 29.5% to 35.7% of all activations. Negative binomial regression demonstrated that in addition to this increase in proportion of assaults relative to all activations, the monthly assault rate also increased by 20% during the pandemic. These increases were driven primarily by increased assaults among Black men. ADI rank did not change between study periods. Conclusions: Health disparities in violence worsened during the pandemic: increased cases of assault occurred disproportionately among Black men, and assaults persisted in occurring primarily among low-ADI communities where burden had been high pre-pandemic. There is a critical need for resources and support to Black men, to mitigate violence and improve racial heath equity.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Beiter, Kaylin; Danos, Denise; Conrad, Erich; Broyles, Stephanie; Zabaleta, Jovanny; Mussell, Jason; and Phillippi, Stephen, "The Covid-19 Pandemic And Associated Increases In Experiences Of Assault Violence Among Black Men With Low Socioeconomic Status Living In Louisiana" (2022). School of Public Health Faculty Publications. 105.