Rural dwellers and local authority tenants more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19 - study

Rural dwellers and local authority tenants more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19 - study

The study, carried out by University College Cork  and Technological University Dublin notes that higher ICU admission for those living in urban areas may be associated with higher levels of deprivation. File photo

People living in rural areas or local authority housing are more likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19, while people living in urban areas are more likely to be admitted to intensive care, reveals a new study into the socio-economic backgrounds of those who contracted the virus in Ireland.

The study between University College Cork (UCC) and Technological University Dublin (TUDublin) examined the age, gender, regional socio-economic status and urban/rural classification of almost 50,000 symptomatic COVID-19 patients in Ireland in the first two waves of the pandemic, through to hospitalisation, intensive care and death.

It notes that higher ICU admission for those living in urban areas may be associated with higher levels of deprivation, higher viral exposures due to increased household or population density, or compounded respiratory illness due to lower air quality.

The study also revealed that men with Covid-19 are approximately 1.5 times more likely to be hospitalised, admitted to ICU, or die, than women.

Analysis suggested this could be due to gender-specific lifestyle, health behaviours, psychological stress, and socioeconomic conditions; as well as the fact that females may be better equipped to initially respond to infection with SARS-CoV-2 than males.

Published in Nature Scientific Reports, and funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the study reveals the first socio-economic picture of who, and where in Ireland were the most impacted during the pandemic. Researchers highlight how the findings will help provide robust evidence for the development of increasingly targeted public-health recommendations.

"Monitoring the clinical outcomes of patients diagnosed with Covid-19 is vital to understand the epidemiological and healthcare burden of SARSCoV-2, to help prioritise high-risk cases in the short term, and perhaps more importantly, provide a robust evidence base for future public health emergency planning," said Dr Jean Dwyer, environmental scientist in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork who is Co-Principal Investigator of the study along with Dr Paul Hynds (TUDublin).

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