Covid-19 hit minorities in nursing homes and assisted living communities, according to a study by the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Findings also revealed that Covid-19 hit not only minorities but also their caregivers. The researchers used newly mandated weekly data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of over 15,500 nursing homes and also came from two studies released on Monday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The study uncovered the inordinate impact of Covid-19 on minorities in nursing homes across every state.
Results showed that nursing homes with higher numbers of racial and ethnic minority residents, when compared to their communities, had 2 to 4 times as many new infections and deaths per facility than other nursing homes.
The study, led by Yue Li, a professor of public health sciences, explained that inequalities in nursing homes caused by segregated facilities with few resources and lowest quality of care are being “exacerbated by the pandemic.”
Helena Temkin-Greener, a professor of public health sciences, led a study of the incidence of Covid-19 in US assisted living communities. Her data revealed a four-fold higher case fatality rate in these places compared to the counties in which they are in.
“As in the nursing home study, we also see that assisted living communities with more minority residents have more cases, and we confirm that communities with a higher proportion of residents with dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and obesity, experienced more COVID-19 cases,” Temkin-Greener said.
Assisted living communities are not covered by federal regulation; they are under the states “with varying degrees of rigor,” Temkin-Greener noted. Different factors leave them “ill-prepared” to manage the impact of a coronavirus pandemic. Among the factors are financial resources, care for increasingly sick residents, and PPE shortages.
Moderna, one of the companies attempting to develop a coronavirus vaccine, announced that its clinical trials will slow down its schedule to ensure participation of minorities, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions.
As of Aug. 28, the drug manufacturer had enlisted 17,458, 24% of whom are from communities of color.
Moderna clinical trials are prioritizing the enrollment of the elderly, communities of color and people with underlying health conditions since they are at greater risk from Covid-19. Meanwhile, public health experts place importance on the inclusion of diverse groups to make sure the vaccines are effective in every population and for establishing trust among all communities to take the vaccine if and when it becomes available.
“The Black community has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and that’s not biological but rather due to socioeconomic inequities resulting from racism,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“It is particularly important to make sure that Black and Latinx participants are represented equitably in the trials and the vaccine shows protective efficacy in different populations of people,” she added.
Moderna’s data revealed that two-thirds of those registered in the study are White, 20% are Hispanic or Latino and 7% are Black.