The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted cities particularly hard. In this article the authors provide an in-depth characterization of disease incidence and mortality, and their dependence on demographic and socioeconomic strata in Santiago, a highly segregated city and the capital of Chile. Their analyses show a strong association between socioeconomic status and both COVID-19 outcomes and public health capacity. People living in municipalities with low socioeconomic status did not reduce their mobility during lockdowns as much as those in more affluent municipalities. Testing volumes may have been insufficient early in the pandemic in those places, and both test positivity rates and testing delays were much higher. They find a strong association between socioeconomic status and mortality, measured either by COVID-19 attributed deaths or excess deaths. Finally, the authors show that infection fatality rates in young people are higher in low-income municipalities. Together, these results highlight the critical consequences of socioeconomic inequalities on health outcomes.
Mena GE, Martinez PP, Mahmud AS, Marquet PA, Buckee CO, Santillana M. Socioeconomic status determines COVID-19 incidence and related mortality in Santiago, Chile. Science. 2021 Apr 27:eabg5298. doi: 10.1126/science.abg5298.