Study Finds Some Michigan Counties More At Risk For COVID-19 Infection

By Consumers For Quality Care, on February 12, 2021

Study Finds Some Michigan Counties More At Risk For COVID-19 Infection

Detroit Free Press reports on research from the University of Michigan that shows COVID-19 infected and killed more families where English is a second language, those who lived in crowded conditions, and those with single parent families.

“The big-picture finding was … that the more socially vulnerable or socially disadvantaged the county is, the higher the likelihood of COVID cases and deaths,” said Dr. Renuka Tipirneni, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan and an internal medicine doctor at Michigan Medicine who is senior author of the study. 

Researchers used CDC findings to determine who is most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Three Michigan counties were found to have the highest level of social vulnerability, along with the highest death rates in the state between March and July of 2020.

According to the study, these factors that made it very difficult to socially isolate and stay updated on latest information to prevent a COVID-19 infection.

“This pandemic has exacerbated long-standing racial/ethnic, social, political, and economic inequities in the U.S. to once again ensure that the most marginalized and under-resourced communities experience the worst outcomes,” the study authors wrote. 

COVID-19 also disproportionately impacted counties with higher percentages of racial and ethnic minorities. Black residents who made up 13.7% of Michigan’s population in April of 2020 accounted for 42.93% of COVID-19 deaths.

It is vital for policymakers to recognize and take into account the inequities that affect vulnerable communities the most when it comes to COVID-19.

“While some of these things are not actionable immediately — the big societal structural problems that we need to address over time — there are some more immediate social needs that can be addressed that can help alleviate risk,” Tipirneni said.