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Ferguson JM, Justice AC, Osborne TF, Magid HSA, Purnell AL, Rentsch CT. Geographic and temporal variation in racial and ethnic disparities in SARS-CoV-2 positivity between February 2020 and August 2021 in the United States. Scientific reports. 2022 Jan 7; 12(1):273.
The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionally impacted racial and ethnic minority communities in the United States. Patterns of these disparities may be changing over time as outbreaks occur in different communities. Utilizing electronic health record data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we estimated odds ratios, stratified by time period and region, for testing positive among 1,313,402 individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2 between February 12, 2020 and August 16, 2021 at VA medical facilities. We adjusted for personal characteristics (sex, age, rural/urban residence, VA facility) and a wide range of clinical characteristics that have been evaluated in prior SARS-CoV-2 reports and could potentially explain racial/ethnic disparities in SARS-CoV-2. Our study found racial and ethnic disparities for testing positive were most pronounced at the beginning of the pandemic and decreased over time. A key finding was that the disparity among Hispanic individuals attenuated but remained elevated, while disparities among Asian individuals reversed by March 1, 2021. The variation in racial and ethnic disparities in SARS-CoV-2 positivity by time and region, independent of underlying health status and other demographic characteristics in a nationwide cohort, provides important insight for strategies to prevent further outbreaks.