A study in New York City revealed a threefold higher risk of infection among pregnant women living in neighborhoods with the most crowded households. Poverty and unemployment also appeared to increase the likelihood of infection.

SARS-CoV-2, which is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, can spread when a person coughs or sneezes, when they make physical contact with someone else, and when they touch a surface that is contaminated with the virus.

Past research has suggested that housing has a powerful influence on the transmission of infections that spread via physical contact and airborne droplets, such as tuberculosis.

A new study by researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, NY, suggests that this has contributed to a higher risk of hospitalization with and death from COVID-19 among people who live in the most deprived areas of cities.

“Our study shows that neighborhood socioeconomic status and household crowding are strongly associated with risk of infection,” says study leader Dr. Alexander Melamed, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“This may explain why Black and Hispanic people living in these neighborhoods are disproportionately at risk [of] contracting the virus,” he adds.

“The knowledge that SARS-CoV-2 infection rates are higher in disadvantaged neighborhoods and among people who live in crowded households could help public health officials target preventive measures, like distributing masks or culturally competent educational information to these populations.”

– Dr. Alexander Melamed

Medical reference: Medical News Today