Descriptive Epidemiology: COVID-19 and Low Income Non- Hispanic Black Seniors

Nationwide, more than 1.6 million older adults live in low-income housing subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Across senior populations per 1000,000, there is high mortality toll. Seniors age 74+ is 306.7%;ages 65-75 is 76.3%; age 55-64 is 31.8%. out of 100,000 Black Americans, 42.8% have died from COVID19 compared to 16.6% of Whites. shows deaths across age and ethnicity from February 1, 2020 to June 6, 2020. In each age group the prevalence of death from COVID-19 complication among Non-Hispanic Black seniors compared to other ethnicities.

These numbers depict a dire situation for COVID-19 and Non-Hispanic Blacks between the ages of 55-84+. With the heightened threat of COVID-19 to Non-Hispanic Black senior residents and living with mobility disabilities (LWMD) living in senior designated and other Public Housing Authority (PHA) properties (e.g., family housing), there is limited descriptive epidemiological literature detailing the causes and risk factor of COVID-19 facing these seniors.

Generally, low-income Non-Hispanic Black seniors 65 years and older carry a disproportionate burden of chronic health conditions associated with poor outcomes from COVID-19, including heart disease, chronic bronchitis or emphysema, and diabetes. Compared to Non-Hispanic Whites the prevalence of high blood pressure is highest in older male and female Non-Hispanic Blacks. At 65 and older also they have significantly higher comorbidity (2-4 or more) than across races and ethnicities. Additionally, impoverished seniors are more likely to be less mobile. Seniors LWMD are at increased risks of unintentional injuries, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes. These data are striking several are listed as underlying medical conditions, increasing the risk of COVID-19. Increasing the risk for severe COVID-19 illnesses are cancer, COPD, and heart conditions (CDC, 2020). Underlying conditions that might increase risk for COVID-19 severe illnesses are asthma, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Between March 1, 2020 to July 11, 2020 COVID-19 hospital rates Non-Hispanic Black seniors are 353.8 for 50-64 years and 743 for 65+ years. Sixty-five plus is the highest hospital rate across all other Non-Hispanic ethnic/racial groups. . A COVID- diagnosis can come with relatively mild prognosis. The symptoms can get worse. However, for anyone, but especially those with underlying conditions and the aged, the COVID-19 prognosis can be acute to lethal respiratory distress such as pneumonia, which can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), induced coma and ventilation. High Blood pressure led highest percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations across thirteen selected underlying conditions. As mentioned earlier, Older male and female Non-Hispanic Blacks have the high prevalence of high blood pressure compared to Non-Hispanic Whites.

According to the CDC, the risks for severe COVID-19 illness are poverty and crowding – the conditions in which Non-Hispanic Black seniors must survive. Federal policies and government support reinforce racial residential segregation, which is the fundamental cause of health disparities as a product of adverse social determinants of health. Racial residential segregation is associated with poor health, poor self-rated health, and identified as a fundamental cause of health disparities among Black Americans.

Non Hispanic Blacks seniors live in racially segregated communities are affected by social determinants that include violence, crime, poverty, food deserts, limited access to services and resources, environmental degradation, poor housing quality, overcrowding, limited and inconsistent access to health care, and social isolation, particularly among seniors LWMD.1 Residential racial segregation is also characterized by for characterized by a disproportionate concentration of disease and illness.

References Upon Request

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