Association between overcrowded households, multigenerational households, and COVID-19: a cohort study

COVID-19 affected different populations across New York City at varying rates, due to numerous conditions. Dr. Nathaniel Hupert, associate professor of population health sciences; Dr. Said Ibrahim, professor of population health sciences; and colleagues sought to better understand the association between overcrowded and multigenerational households and COVID-19 in a new Public Health study. The researchers conducted a Bayesian ecological time series analysis at the ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) level in New York City to assess whether ZCTAs with higher proportions of overcrowded and multigenerational households were independently associated with higher suspected COVID-19 case rates. Data for 39,923 suspected COVID-19 cases between March 1 and 30 of 2020 were provided by the NYC Department of Health Syndromic Surveillance. While controlling for ZCTA-level sociodemographic factors, prevalence of clinical conditions related to COVID-19 severity, and spatial clustering, the researchers found that both over-crowdedness and multigenerational housing were risk factors for suspected COVID-19 cases. In addition, social distancing measures taken during the early surge of the pandemic may have inadvertently increased transmission risk and disease by increasing the number of people together in a house.

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