The effect of area deprivation on COVID-19 risk in Louisiana
Background Louisiana in the summer of 2020 had the highest per capita case count for COVID-19 in the United States and COVID-19 deaths disproportionately affects the African American population. Neighborhood deprivation has been observed to be associated with poorer health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between neighborhood deprivation and COVID-19 in Louisiana. Methods The Area Deprivation Index (ADI) was calculated and used to classify neighborhood deprivation at the census tract level. A total of 17 US census variables were used to calculate the ADI for each of the 1148 census tracts in Louisiana. The data were extracted from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2018. The neighborhoods were categorized into quintiles as well as low and high deprivation. The publicly available COVID-19 cumulative case counts by census tract were obtained from the Louisiana Department of Health website on July 31, 2020. Descriptive and Poisson regression analyses were performed. Results Neighborhoods in Louisiana were substantially different with respect to deprivation. The ADI ranged from 136.00 for the most deprived neighborhood and –33.87 in the least deprived neighborhood. We observed that individuals residing in the most deprived neighborhoods had almost a 40% higher risk of COVID-19 compared to those residing in the least deprived neighborhoods. Conclusion While the majority of previous studies were focused on very limited socio-environmental factors such as crowding and income, this study used a composite area-based deprivation index to examine the role of neighborhood environment on COVID-19. We observed a positive relationship between neighborhood deprivation and COVID-19 risk in Louisiana. The study findings can be utilized to promote public health preventions measures besides social distancing, wearing a mask while in public and frequent handwashing in vulnerable neighborhoods with greater deprivation.
Madhav, K. C.; Oral, Evrim; Straif-Bourgeois, Susanne; Rung, Ariane L.; and Peters, Edward S., "The effect of area deprivation on COVID-19 risk in Louisiana" (2020). School of Public Health Faculty Publications. 276.