Social Determinants of Health Mediate COVID-19 Disparities in South Florida

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Background: There are several reports of health disparities related to COVID-19. Understanding social determinants of health (SDoH) could help develop mitigation strategies to prevent further COVID-19 spread. Our aim is to evaluate self-reported and census-based SDoH as a mediator of health disparities in COVID-19. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional ecological study and included all COVID-19 cases report by the COVID-19 Florida dashboard as the dependent variable. The independent variables were census-based median household income, population and household size, and self-reported SDoH using a validated survey. We calculated the incidence rate ratio (IRR) of COVID-19 by zip code using Poisson regression and structured equation modelling to evaluate the mediation effect of income and SDoH on COVID-19 cases. Results: We included 97,594 COVID-19 positive cases across 79 Miami-Dade ZIP codes with a median age of 43 years; females represented 50.7% of the cases. The highest IRR (4.44) were for ZIP code 33125 (income $21,106, 6% Black, 93% Hispanic), while the lowest IRR (0.86) was for ZIP code 33146 (median household incomes $96,609, 3% Black and 53% Hispanic). In structured equation models, the indirect coefficient of income in the relationship between race/ethnicity and COVID-19 were only significant for Blacks and not Hispanics. Conclusions: This ecological analysis using ZIP code and aggregate individual-level SDoH shows that in Miami-Dade county, COVID infection is associated with economic disadvantage in a particular geographical area and not with racial/ethnic distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-477
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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