Disparities in Vulnerability to Severe Complications from COVID-19 in the United States
Emily E. Wiemers, Scott Abrahams, Marwa AlFakhri, V. Joseph Hotz, Robert F. Schoeni, Judith A. Seltzer
This paper provides the first nationally representative estimates of vulnerability to severe com-plications from COVID-19 overall and across race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status. We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine the prevalence of specific health condi-tions associated with complications from COVID-19 and to calculate, for each individual, an index of the risk of severe complications from respiratory infections developed by DeCaprio et al. (2020). We show large disparities across race-ethnicity and socioeconomic status in the prev-alence of conditions which are associated with the risk of severe complications from COVID-19. Moreover, we show that these disparities emerge early in life, prior to age 65, leading to higher vulnerability to such complications. While vulnerability is highest among older adults regardless of their race-ethnicity or socioeconomic status, our results suggest particular attention should also be given to the risk of adverse outcomes in midlife for non-Hispanic Blacks, adults with a high school degree or less, and low-income Americans.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27294