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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health





Systemic inequity concerning the social determinants of health has been known to affect morbidity and mortality for decades. Significant attention has focused on the individual-level demographic and co-morbid factors associated with rates and mortality of COVID-19. However, less attention has been given to the county-level social determinants of health that are the main drivers of health inequities. To identify the degree to which social determinants of health predict COVID-19 cumulative case rates at the county-level in Georgia, we performed a sequential, cross-sectional ecologic analysis using a diverse set of socioeconomic and demographic variables. Lasso regression was used to identify variables from collinear groups. Twelve variables correlated to cumulative case rates (for cases reported by 1 August 2020) with an adjusted r squared of 0.4525. As time progressed in the pandemic, correlation of demographic and socioeconomic factors to cumulative case rates increased, as did number of variables selected. Findings indicate the social determinants of health and demographic factors continue to predict case rates of COVID-19 at the county-level as the pandemic evolves. This research contributes to the growing body of evidence that health disparities continue to widen, disproportionality affecting vulnerable populations.


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