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Covid-19 'thrives in places of poverty and crowded housing'

Published Oct 26, 2020


CAPE TOWN- Growing research is proving that the Covid-19 pandemic has not affected all communities equally. A new study has found a direct correlation of the risk of coronavirus infection with poverty and crowded housing.

According to findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published on Thursday, low-income communities with higher social vulnerabilities, particularly those in which people of colour live, have a higher risk of infection than their wealthier, whiter counterparts.

Communities in less urban areas with higher percentages of racial and ethnic minority residents are more likely to become areas with rapidly increasing Covid-19 outbreaks, also known as hotspots.

“Poverty, crowded housing, and other community attributes associated with social vulnerability increase a community’s risk for adverse health outcomes during and following a public health event,” the study said. Those effects were especially pronounced in places with a “higher representation of racial and ethnic minority residents.”


The findings confirm a growing body of research that suggests virus outbreaks are more likely to afflict people of color and low-income communities than it is wealthier white people.

"Consistent with previous findings, these results show that Covid-19 disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority groups, who might also experience more socioeconomic challenges," the study said.

Researchers examined coronavirus cases throughout the United States in June and July and saw how certain hot spots fared on the Social Vulnerability Index, a CDC database that tracks factors that have an effect on public health, including education and unemployment rates, as well as housing and access to transportation.

Figures from the study found that among new hotspot counties 97 cases per 100,000 persons were recorded; in contrast, in non-hotspot counties 27 cases per 100,000 persons were recorded. Fourteen days later, hotspot county incidence was 140 cases per 100,000, and incidence in non-hotspot counties was 40 cases per 100,000.

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