Aging and COVID-19 in Minority Populations: a Perfect Storm
Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Epidemiology | Geriatrics | Infectious Disease | Race and Ethnicity | Virus Diseases
Purpose of Review: COVID-19 is a major concern for the health and wellbeing of individuals worldwide. As COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to increase in the USA, aging Black and Hispanic populations have emerged as especially at-risk for increased exposure to COVID-19 and susceptibility to severe health outcomes. The current review discusses the weathering hypothesis and the influence of social inequality on the identified health disparities.
Recent Findings: Aging minoritized populations have endured structural and social inequality over the lifecourse. Consequently, these populations experience weathering, a process that results in physiological dysregulation due to stress associated with persistent disadvantage. Through weathering and continued inequity, aging minoritized populations have an increased risk of exposure and poor health outcomes from COVID-19.
Summary: Current literature and available data suggests that aging minoritized persons experience high rates of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. The current review hypothesizes and supports that observed disparities are the result of inequalities that especially affect Black and Hispanic populations over the lifecourse. Future efforts to address these disparities should emphasize research that supports governments in identifying at-risk groups, providing accessible COVID-19-related information to those groups, and implementing policy that addresses the structural and social inequities that perpetuate current COVID-19 disparities.
Aging, Black, COVID-19, Health disparities, Hispanic, Weathering
DOI of Published Version
Walubita T, Beccia A, Boama-Nyarko E, Goulding M, Herbert C, Kloppenburg J, Mabry G, Masters G, McCullers A, Forrester S. Aging and COVID-19 in Minority Populations: a Perfect Storm. Curr Epidemiol Rep. 2021 Mar 16:1-9. doi: 10.1007/s40471-021-00267-4. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33747713; PMCID: PMC7959878. Link to article on publisher's site
Current epidemiology reports
Walubita T, Beccia A, Boama-Nyarko E, Goulding M, Herbert C, Kloppenburg J, Mabry G, Masters GA, McCullers A, Forrester SN. (2021). Aging and COVID-19 in Minority Populations: a Perfect Storm. COVID-19 Publications by UMass Chan Authors. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40471-021-00267-4. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/covid19/204