Understanding vulnerability to COVID-19 in New Zealand: a nationwide cross-sectional study (2021)
COVID-19 can affect the entire population, but it poses an increased risk for particular population groups. Socioeconomic and demographic factors, as well as long-term health conditions, can make populations vulnerable to adverse health outcomes and mortality related to COVID-19. This study uses geospatial methods to visualise metrics of vulnerability to COVID-19 in New Zealand. Based on Ministry of Health guidelines, nationwide data on risk factors included age, ethnicity, population density, socioeconomic deprivation, smoking, long-term health conditions (cancer, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, renal conditions, and respiratory illnesses), and health service awareness. Data were sourced from the Census (2018), the New Zealand Deprivation Index (NZDep2018), and the National Minimum Dataset (2011– 2016). Factor analysis and bivariate mapping were used to identify areas of high vulnerability. Results demonstrate the unequal social and spatial vulnerabilities to COVID-19 across New Zealand. While some major cities were highlighted many areas also occurred outside of the major cities in smaller communities, which also typically have less access to healthcare and fewer resources. This study has generated data that may help mitigate potential inequality in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, or indeed for future pandemics.
CitationWiki J, Marek L, Hobbs M, Kingham S, Campbell M Understanding vulnerability to COVID-19 in New Zealand: a nationwide cross-sectional study. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 1-18.
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KeywordsCOVID-19; New Zealand; vulnerable populations; geospatial; mapping
ANZSRC Fields of Research11 - Medical and Health Sciences::1117 - Public Health and Health Services::111706 - Epidemiology
11 - Medical and Health Sciences::1102 - Cardiovascular Medicine and Haematology::110203 - Respiratory Diseases