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The Racial Divide: A Follow Up Study on Racial Disparity Amongst COVID-19 Survivors in an Urban Community.

BACKGROUND: Studies have shown that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on minority groups in both the clinical and social settings in America. We conducted a follow up study on patients previously diagnosed with COVID-19 one year ago in an urban community in New Jersey. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 as well as assess for receptiveness towards COVID-19 vaccination amongst various ethnic groups.

METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study consisting of patients who had recovered from COVID-19 one year prior. The patients included in the study had a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the months of March and April of 2020. This was a single institutional study conducted at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, NJ from the months of March to April of 2021. Patients included in the study were either male or female aged 18 years or older. Patients who met criteria for inclusion were contacted by telephone to participate in a telephone survey. After informed consent was obtained, the patients completed a survey which obtained sociodemographic information pertaining to their diagnosis with COVID-19. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square testing and multivariable logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: Of the 170 patients enrolled in the study, the most common ethnicity was Hispanic (79/170 [46.47%]), followed by African American (46/170 [27.05%]). The gender distribution was 83 male (83/170 [48.82%]) and 87 female (87/170 [51.18%]) with a mean age of 51.5. Caucasians were the most willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (28/30 [93.3%]), followed by Asians (13/14 [92.8%]), Hispanics (63/78 [80.7%]) and African Americans (29/46 [63.0%]). Hispanics had the highest rate of job loss (31/79 [39.24%]), followed by of African Americans (16/46 [34.7%]). Hispanics were found to be in the most financial distress (31/79 [39.2%]), followed by African Americans (17/46 [36.9%]). Chi square analysis revealed Hispanics and African Americans were more likely to lose their jobs after being diagnosed with COVID-19 (p: 0.04). Hispanics and African Americans were also more likely to refuse vaccination with any of the available COVID-19 vaccines (p: 0.02). Multivariable Logistic regression analysis was then performed comparing both Hispanics and African Americans to Caucasians. Hispanics were more likely to lose their jobs compared to Caucasians (odds ratio, 4.456; 95% CI, 1.387 to 14.312; p: 0.0121). African Americans were also more likely to lose their jobs when compared to Caucasians (odds ratio, 4.465; 95% CI, 1.266 to 15.747; p: 0.0200).

DISCUSSION: Overall Hispanics reported the highest rates of financial distress after their diagnosis with COVID-19. Nearly 40% of the Hispanic lost their jobs following their diagnosis with COVID-19 which was the highest in our study group. African Americans were similarly affected with about 37% of all patients experiencing job loss and financial distress following diagnosis with COVID-19. Hispanics and african americans were the two ethnic groups who were least willing to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Only 63% of African Americans were willing to receive the vaccine, with 80.7% of Hispanics willing to become vaccinated. The most common reason for not receiving any of the COVID-19 vaccines was due to lack of trust in the vaccine. Both Hispanics and African Americans were more statistically likely to lose their jobs as well as refuse COVID-19 vaccination following diagnosis with COVID-19.

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