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Ferguson JM, Mitchell-Miland C, Shahoumian TA, Moy E, Jones KT, Cohen AJ, Hausmann LRM. Temporal variation in individual social risk factors associated with testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 among veterans in the veterans health administration. Annals of epidemiology. 2022 Sep 1; 73:22-29.
PURPOSE: Marginalized communities have been disproportionally impacted by SARS-CoV-2. How the associations between social determinants of health and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection shifted across time is unknown. In this evaluation, we examine individual-level social determinants of health as social risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection across the first 12 months of the pandemic among US Veterans. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of 946,358 Veterans who sought testing or treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection in U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. We estimated risk ratios for testing positive by social risk factors, adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, and time. Adjusted models were stratified by pandemic phase to assess temporal fluctuations in social risks. RESULTS: Approximately 19% of Veterans tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Larger household size was a persistent risk factor and this association increased over time. Early in the pandemic, lower county-level population density was associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 infection risk, but between June 1 and August 31, 2020, this trend reversed. CONCLUSIONS: Temporal fluctuations in social risks associated with Veterans'' SARS-CoV-2 infection suggest the need for ongoing, real-time tracking as the social and medical environment continues to evolve.