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Wong MS, Haderlein TP, Yuan AH, Moy E, Jones KT, Washington DL. Time Trends in Racial/Ethnic Differences in COVID-19 Infection and Mortality. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021 May 1; 18(9).
Studies documenting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) racial/ethnic disparities in the United States were limited to data from the initial few months of the pandemic, did not account for changes over time, and focused primarily on Black and Hispanic minority groups. To fill these gaps, we examined time trends in racial/ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infection and mortality. We used the Veteran Health Administration's (VHA) national database of veteran COVID-19 infections over three time periods: 3/1/2020-5/31/2020 (spring); 6/1/2020-8/31/2020 (summer); and 9/1/2020-11/25/2020 (fall). We calculated COVID-19 infection and mortality predicted probabilities from logistic regression models that included time period-by-race/ethnicity interaction terms, and controlled for age, gender, and prior diagnosis of CDC risk factors. Racial/ethnic groups at higher risk for COVID-19 infection and mortality changed over time. American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN), Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders experienced higher COVID-19 infections compared to Whites during the summertime. There were mortality disparities for Blacks in springtime, and AI/ANs, Asians, and Hispanics in summertime. Policy makers should consider the dynamic nature of racial/ethnic disparities as the pandemic evolves, and potential effects of risk mitigation and other (e.g., economic) policies on these disparities. Researchers should consider how trends in disparities change over time in other samples.