Healthy Regions + Policies Lab

Cross-posted from Atlas Insights: The US Covid Atlas blog

The nationally syndicated radio show and podcast Marketplace Tech interviewed postdoctoral scholar and US Covid Atlas co-lead Dr. Qinyun Lin (pictured above) this week on our latest research exploring the social determinants of health associated with higher COVID-19 mortality across different regions and communities.

Published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the research led by Dr. Lin and co-authored by the US Covid Atlas and Healthy Regions & Policies Lab team uses spatial analysis to assess the structural barriers and racial group disparities of COVID-19 mortality rates in counties during the first year of the pandemic. Among our findings was the significant association between the number of households that lacked internet access in a county and the county’s mortality rate. This association held up not just in rural areas — those often thought to have less access to the internet due to infrastructure problems— but also in suburban and urban areas, as well.

You can listen now to the full interview here, or get the Marketplace Tech podcast wherever you download podcasts.

Below is an excerpt from the conversation between Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams and Dr. Lin. The complete edited transcript of their discussion is available via Marketplace.

Adams: What are some of the possible reasons why a lack of internet access might have contributed to higher COVID deaths and COVID mortality rates?

Lin: There could be that the lack of internet access means a lack of technological access to reliable information, telehealth services, ordering groceries or other resources online. Indirectly, there could also be reasons like without access to internet, they cannot work virtually, they cannot do schooling online, they cannot apply for public assistance online and they cannot access social support like some broader social support.

To learn more, listen to the full interview, read the published research article, and review key findings in the research brief.

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