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Clinical risk, sociodemographic factors, and SARS-CoV-2 infection over time in Ontario, Canada


We aimed to determine whether early public health interventions in 2020 mitigated the association of sociodemographic and clinical risk factors with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. We conducted a population-based cohort study of all adults in Ontario, Canada who underwent testing for SARS-CoV-2 through December 31, 2020. The outcome was laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were determined for sociodemographic and clinical risk factors before and after the first-wave peak of the pandemic to assess for changes in effect sizes. Among 3,167,753 community-dwelling individuals, 142,814 (4.5%) tested positive. The association between age and SARS-CoV-2 infection risk varied over time (P-interaction < 0.0001). Prior to the first-wave peak, SARS-CoV-2 infection increased with age whereas this association reversed thereafter. Risk factors that persisted included male sex, residing in lower income neighborhoods, residing in more racially/ethnically diverse communities, immigration to Canada, hypertension, and diabetes. While there was a reduction in infection rates after mid-April 2020, there was less impact in regions with higher racial/ethnic diversity. Immediately following the initial peak, individuals living in the most racially/ethnically diverse communities with 2, 3, or ≥ 4 risk factors had ORs of 1.89, 3.07, and 4.73-fold higher for SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to lower risk individuals in their community (all P < 0.0001). In the latter half of 2020, this disparity persisted with corresponding ORs of 1.66, 2.48, and 3.70-fold higher, respectively. In the least racially/ethnically diverse communities, there was little/no gradient in infection rates across risk strata. Further efforts are necessary to reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among the highest risk individuals residing in the most racially/ethnically diverse communities.



Udell JA, Behrouzi B, Sivaswamy A, Chu A, Ferreira-Legere LE, Fang J, Goodman SG, Ezekowitz JA, Bainey KR, van Diepen S, Kaul P, McAlister FA, Bogoch II, Jackevicius CA, Abdel-Qadir H, Wijeysundera HC, Ko DT, Austin PC, Lee DS. Sci Rep. 2022; 12:10534. Epub 2022 Jun 24.

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