LSU Health Conducts 1st Study on Neighborhood Deprivation & COVID in LA

Published: December 3, 2020, Journal PLOS ONE,

New Orleans, LA –  A study by researchers at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, believed to be the first study to investigate the role of neighborhood deprivation on COVID-19 in Louisiana, found that the more a neighborhood is deprived, the higher the risk for cases of COVID-19. They report that people living in the most deprived neighborhoods had an almost 40% higher risk of COVID-19 compared to those residing in the least deprived neighborhoods. Their findings are published online in PLOS ONE, available here.

This study sought to find more definitive answers about what contributed to the nation’s highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in New Orleans during the summer of 2020 and the disproportionate number of African Americans affected. Few studies in the US had assessed the role of social determinants of health on COVID-19 disease. The studies that existed examined only a couple of specific risk factors, such as overcrowding and income. The LSU Health New Orleans team took a much more comprehensive approach to examine the relationship between neighborhood deprivation and COVID-19 in Louisiana.

This study used a measurement called the Area Deprivation Index (ADI) to look at how relative deprivation of Louisiana neighborhoods is associated with the rate of COVID-19 cases. The ADI calculation was based on several items from the US Census, such as income and housing, to estimate the degree of deprivation, or poverty, at the census tract level, a proxy for the neighborhood. We obtained the cumulative number of Louisiana COVID-19 case counts from the Louisiana Department of Health on July 31, 2020. We estimated COVID-19 risk for five categories of deprivation, ranging from least to most deprived neighborhoods. We observed that the risk of COVID-19 was significantly associated with deprivation: more deprived neighborhoods experienced a higher risk of Covid-19. Neighborhoods with greater deprivation should be especially targeted with public health prevention measures such as wearing a mask while in public, social distancing, and perhaps considered as a priority for vaccine delivery.

This new research published in the Journal PLOS ONE is titled “The effect of area deprivation on COVID-19 risk in Louisianawas authored by Madhav K. C., PhD Student in Epidemiology. The research team also included Drs. Evrim Oral, Susanne Straif-Bourgeois, Ariane L. Rung, and Edward S. Peters , all from the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.

Click here to read the full journal publication.

This article is also published in LSU Heath New Orleans Newsroom and is available here

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