Researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado looked at data from COVID patients in Michigan when the pandemic was ramping up in 2020 and found that coming from a more underprivileged area was linked to more severe COVID presentation.
ZIP codes that were more vulnerable were determined by combining information about income levels, education, number of single parent households in the area, and other factors. These individuals were also more likely to need more intensive treatment in the hospital such as a ventilator, or even dialysis – which are required when organs start failing.
This might be due to lack of access to testing centers in these ZIP codes, difficulties with transportation, or even being able to take sick leave from work which can all lead to delays in early treatment.
These neighborhoods also happen to have lower rates of COVID vaccination.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining, these individuals actually do just as well after treatment as individuals from more privileged areas.
Overall, research suggests that paying attention at an organizational or policy making level to these factors can have a large impact on COVID outcomes for these areas.