New research supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health aims to deepen public understanding of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and inform the response.
This list of recently published journal articles shows the ways current and former NICHD-funded Population Centers are contributing to this important public health challenge.
Johns Hopkins University (Grant R01 HD086013)
A COVID-19 vaccine must have an efficacy of at least 70% to prevent an epidemic and of at least 80% to largely extinguish an epidemic without any other measures, such as social distancing. Bartsch SM, O’Shea KJ, Ferguson MC, et al. Vaccine Efficacy Needed for a COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine to Prevent or Stop an Epidemic as the Sole Intervention. Am J Prev Med. 2020;59(4):493-503. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2020.06.011.
The availability and quality of age- and race-ethnic-specific COVID-19 case and death data varied greatly across states and is sufficient in only California, Illinois, and Ohio. Age distributions in confirmed cases obscured racial-ethnic disparities in COVID-19 case fatality rates. Age standardization narrows racial-ethnic disparities and changes ranking. Public COVID-19 data availability, quality, and harmonization need improvement to address racial disparities in this pandemic. Pathak I, Choi Y, Jiao D, et. al. Racial-ethnic disparities in case fatality ratio narrowed after age standardization: A call for race-ethnicity-specific age distributions in State COVID-19 data. medRxiv. 2020 Oct 4. *Preprint, not peer reviewed.
Pennsylvania State University (Grant P2C HD041025)
Every death from COVID-19 will impact the physical and mental health of approximately nine surviving close family members. Verdery AM, Smith-Greenaway E, Margolis R, et. al. Tracking the reach of COVID-19 kin loss with a bereavement multiplier applied to the United States. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 2020 Jul 28; 117(30):17695-17701. Epub 2020 Jul 10.
Since early March, the average daily increase in the #COVID-19 mortality rate has been significantly higher in rural counties that have the highest percent Black and percent Hispanic populations. Cheng KJG, Sun Y, Monnat SM. COVID-19 Death Rates Are Higher in Rural Counties With Larger Shares of Blacks and Hispanics. J Rural Health. 2020;36(4):602-608. doi:10.1111/jrh.12511
Princeton University (Grant P2CHD047879)
U.S. COVID-19 deaths result in a 1-year reduction in life expectancy at age 65. The Black and Latino populations are estimated to experience declines in life expectancy at birth of 2.69 and 3.66 years, respectively, both of which are several times the 0.84-year reduction for Whites. These projections imply an increase of over 50% in the Black-White life expectancy gap, from 3.6 to 5.5 years, thereby eliminating 20 years of progress made in reducing this differential. Andrasfay T, Goldman N. Reductions in 2020 US life expectancy due to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on the Black and Latino populations. Preprint. medRxiv. 2020;2020.07.12.20148387. Published 2020 Sep 15. doi:10.1101/2020.07.12.20148387. *Preprint, not peer reviewed.
University of California, Berkeley (Grant P2CHD073964)
COVID-19 is likely to shorten the average U.S. lifespan in 2020 by about 1 year. Unlike HIV/AIDS and opioid epidemics, COVID-19 deaths are concentrated in a period of months rather than spread out over decades. Goldstein JR, Lee RD. Demographic perspectives on the mortality of COVID-19 and other epidemics. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117(36):22035-22041. doi:10.1073/pnas.2006392117.
University of California, Los Angeles (Grant P2C HD041022)
The impact of COVID-19 on U.S. life expectancy at birth amounts to nearly twice the largest single-year decline induced by HIV/AIDS and would bring U.S. life expectancy at birth down to its lowest level since 2008. Heuveline P, Tzen M. Beyond Deaths per Capita: Three CoViD-19 Mortality Indicators for Temporal and International Comparisons. medRxiv. 2020 May 5. *Preprint, not peer reviewed.
Based on analysis of health conditions linked to a severe COVID-19 complications, health disparities emerge early in life, prior to age 65: Non-Hispanic Blacks, adults with a high school degree or less, and low-income Americans in midlife face the highest risks. Wiemers EE, Abrahams S, AlFakhri M, et. al. Disparities in Vulnerability to Severe Complications from COVID-19 in the United States. medRxiv. 2020 May 30. *Preprint, not peer reviewed.
After the U.S. spread of the coronavirus, the proportion of negative tweets referring to Asians increased by 68% (from 9.79% in November to 16.49% in March). In contrast, the proportion of negative tweets referring to other racial/ethnic minorities (Blacks and Latinx) remained relatively stable during this period. Nguyen TT, Criss S, Dwivedi P, et al. Exploring U.S. Shifts in Anti-Asian Sentiment with the Emergence of COVID-19. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(19):E7032. Published 2020 Sep 25. doi:10.3390/ijerph17197032.
Among adults with pre-existing conditions, the risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19 is an estimated 3x higher for those with low incomes vs. high incomes, and 60% higher for those with a high school diploma vs. college degree. Wiemers EE, Abrahams S, AlFakhri M, Hotz VJ, Schoeni RF, Seltzer JA. Disparities in vulnerability to complications from COVID-19 arising from disparities in preexisting conditions in the United States. Res Soc Stratif Mobil. 2020;69:100553. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2020.100553
University of Minnesota (Grant P2C HD041023)
For U.S. White mortality in 2020 to reach levels that U.S. Blacks experience outside of pandemics, current COVID-19 mortality levels would need to increase by a factor of nearly 6. Even amid COVID-19, U.S. White mortality is likely to be lower than what U.S. Blacks have experienced every year. Wrigley-Field E. US racial inequality may be as deadly as COVID-19. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117(36):21854-21856. doi:10.1073/pnas.2014750117.
The COVID-19 global pandemic affected air quality due to extreme changes in human behavior with both fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the continental United States, showing statistically significant declines in urban areas and counties from states instituting early non-essential business closures. Berman JD, Ebisu K. Changes in U.S. air pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sci. Total Environ. 2020 Jun 1; 739:139864. [Epub ahead of print].
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Grant P2C HD050924)
People of any age with obesity face a greatly increased risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 compared to those without obesity: a higher risk of hospitalization (113% higher), being admitted to the ICU (74% higher), and death (48% higher). Popkin BM, Du S, Green WD, et al. Individuals with obesity and COVID-19: A global perspective on the epidemiology and biological relationships. Obes Rev. 2020;21(11):e13128. doi:10.1111/obr.13128.
University of Pennsylvania (Grant P2CHD044964)
In mid-March 2020, perceptions about COVID-19 health risks and economic consequences in the U.S. population were highly variable by age and education, raising concerns about the ability of the nation to implement and sustain the widespread and restrictive policies required to curtail the pandemic. Ciancio A, Kämpfen F, Kohler IV, et al. Know your epidemic, know your response: Early perceptions of COVID-19 and self-reported social distancing in the United States. PLoS One. 2020;15(9):e0238341. Published 2020 Sep 4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0238341.