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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
E-pub ahead of print

Adverse SARS-CoV-2-associated outcomes among people experiencing social marginalisation and psychiatric vulnerability: A population-based cohort study among 4,4 million people

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Background: Knowledge of the adverse problems related to SARS-CoV-2 infection in marginalised and deprived groups may help to prioritise more preventive efforts in these groups. We examined adverse outcomes associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among vulnerable segments of society.

Methods: Using health and administrative registers, a population-based cohort study of 4.4 million Danes aged at least 15 years from 27 February 2020 to 15 October 2021 was performed. People with 1) low educational level, 2) homelessness, 3) imprisonment, 4) substance abuse, 5) supported psychiatric housing, 6) psychiatric admission, and 7) severe mental illness were main exposure groups. Chronic medical conditions were included for comparison. COVID-19-related outcomes were: 1) hospitalisation, 2) intensive care, 3) 60-day mortality, and 4) overall mortality. PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and PCR-testing were also studied. Poisson regression analysis was used to compute adjusted incidence and mortality rate ratios (IRRs, MRRs).

Findings: Using health and administrative registers, we performed a population-based cohort study of 4,412,382 individuals (mean age 48 years; 51% females). In all, 257,450 (5·8%) individuals had a PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. After adjustment for age, calendar time, and sex, we found that especially people experiencing homelessness had high risk of hospitalisation (IRR 4·36, 95% CI, 3·09-6·14), intensive care (IRR 3·12, 95% CI 1·29-7·52), and death (MRR 8·17, 95% CI, 3·66-18·25) compared with people without such experiences, but increased risk was found for all studied groups. Furthermore, after full adjustment, including for status of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection, individuals with experiences of homelessness and a PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection had 41-times (95% CI, 24·84-68·44) higher risk of all-cause death during the study period compared with individuals without. Supported psychiatric housing was linked to almost 3-times higher risk of hospitalisation and 60-day mortality following SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with the general population with other living circumstances.

Interpretation: Socially marginalised and psychiatrically vulnerable individuals had substantially elevated risks of adverse health outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection. The results highlight that pandemic preparedness should address inequalities in health, including infection prevention and vaccination of vulnerable groups.

Funding: Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100421
JournalThe Lancet regional health. Europe
Pages (from-to)100421
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jun 2022

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© 2022 The Author(s).

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