Mortality due to coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) among Black and Hispanic populations is disproportionately high compared to white populations. This study aimed to explore the association between COVID-19 mortality and social determinants of health (SDOH) among Black and Hispanic populations in Virginia.
County-level publicly available COVID-19 mortality data from Virginia, covariates, and SDOH indicators were used. An independent t-test and hierarchical multiple regression analysis were performed to assess the association between SDOH and COVID-19 death rates, with a focus on racial/ethnic disparities.
Counties in the lowest quartile had a mean death rate of 44.72 (SD = 13.8), while those in the highest quartile had a mean death rate of 239.02 (SD = 123.9) per 100, 000 people (P < .001). Counties with the highest death rates had significantly lower mean socioeconomic status. The regression analysis revealed that 32% of the variance in the COVID-19 mortality rate was associated with SDOH after controlling for the covariates (P < .01). Identifying as Hispanic ethnicity accounted for 8.5% of the variance, while median household income, being uninsured, and education accounted for 32.7%, 12.9%, and 7.1%, respectively.
The findings provide evidence that disparities in SDOH experienced by Hispanic populations play a significant role in increased COVID-19 mortality, thus highlighting the social needs of low-income, low-education, and Hispanic populations to advance equity in health outcomes.