The U.S. has merely 4% of the world population but 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Massachusetts has been in the leading position of total cases since the outbreak in the U.S. Racial residential segregation is a fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Moreover, disparities of access to health care have a large impact on COVID-19 cases. Thus, this study estimates racial segregation and disparities in testing sites access and employs economic, demographic, and transportation variables at the city/town level in Massachusetts. Spatial regression models are applied to evaluate the relationships between COVID-19 incidence rate and related variables. This is the first study to apply spatial analysis methods across neighborhoods in the U.S. to examine the COVID-19 incidence rate. The findings are: 1) residential segregations of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Black/African Americans have a significantly positive association with COVID-19 incidence rate, indicating the higher susceptibility of COIVD-19 infections among minority; 2) The Black has the shortest drive time to testing sites, followed by Hispanic, Asian, and Whites. The drive time to testing sites is significantly negatively associated with the COVID-19 incidence rate, implying the importance of testing location being accessed by all populations; 3) Poverty rate and road density are significant explanatory variables. Importantly, overcrowding represented by more than one person per room is a significant variable found to be positively associated with COVID-19 incidence rate, suggesting the effectiveness of social distancing for reducing infection; 4) Different from previous studies, elderly population rate is not statistically significant with incidence rate because the elderly population in Massachusetts is less distributed in the hot spot regions of COVID-19 infections. The findings in this study provide useful insights for policymakers to propose new strategies to contain the COVID-19 transmissions in Massachusetts.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv