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Article

Racial Segregation, Testing Site Access, and COVID-19 Incidence Rate in Massachusetts, USA

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Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
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Geocomputation Center for Social Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
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Center of GeoInformatics for Public Security, School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
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Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
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Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, USA
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Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77840, USA
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Department of Biology, Mercer University, Macon, GA 31207, USA
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State Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
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Collaborative Innovation Center of Geospatial Technology, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
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China Data Institute, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9528; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249528
Received: 26 October 2020 / Revised: 7 December 2020 / Accepted: 10 December 2020 / Published: 19 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disaster Nursing and Public Health Emergency Preparedness)
The U.S. has merely 4% of the world population, but contains 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., Massachusetts has been leading other states in the total number of COVID-19 cases. Racial residential segregation is a fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Moreover, disparities of access to health care have a large impact on COVID-19 cases. Thus, this study estimates racial segregation and disparities in testing site access and employs economic, demographic, and transportation variables at the city/town level in Massachusetts. Spatial regression models are applied to evaluate the relationships between COVID-19 incidence rate and related variables. This is the first study to apply spatial analysis methods across neighborhoods in the U.S. to examine the COVID-19 incidence rate. The findings are: (1) Residential segregations of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Black/African Americans have a significantly positive association with COVID-19 incidence rate, indicating the higher susceptibility of COVID-19 infections among minority groups. (2) Non-Hispanic Black/African Americans have the shortest drive time to testing sites, followed by Hispanic, Non-Hispanic Asians, and Non-Hispanic Whites. The drive time to testing sites is significantly negatively associated with the COVID-19 incidence rate, implying the importance of the accessibility of testing sites by all populations. (3) Poverty rate and road density are significant explanatory variables. Importantly, overcrowding represented by more than one person per room is a significant variable found to be positively associated with COVID-19 incidence rate, suggesting the effectiveness of social distancing for reducing infection. (4) Different from the findings of previous studies, the elderly population rate is not statistically significantly correlated with the incidence rate because the elderly population in Massachusetts is less distributed in the hotspot regions of COVID-19 infections. The findings in this study provide useful insights for policymakers to propose new strategies to contain the COVID-19 transmissions in Massachusetts. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19 incidence rate; racial segregation; access to testing site; spatial regression COVID-19 incidence rate; racial segregation; access to testing site; spatial regression
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hu, T.; Yue, H.; Wang, C.; She, B.; Ye, X.; Liu, R.; Zhu, X.; Guan, W.W.; Bao, S. Racial Segregation, Testing Site Access, and COVID-19 Incidence Rate in Massachusetts, USA. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9528. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249528

AMA Style

Hu T, Yue H, Wang C, She B, Ye X, Liu R, Zhu X, Guan WW, Bao S. Racial Segregation, Testing Site Access, and COVID-19 Incidence Rate in Massachusetts, USA. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(24):9528. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249528

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hu, Tao, Han Yue, Changzhen Wang, Bing She, Xinyue Ye, Regina Liu, Xinyan Zhu, Weihe Wendy Guan, and Shuming Bao. 2020. "Racial Segregation, Testing Site Access, and COVID-19 Incidence Rate in Massachusetts, USA" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 24: 9528. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249528

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