The evolution of the association between community level social capital and COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in the United States.

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Date: June 2021
From: Social Science & Medicine(Vol. 278)
Publisher: Elsevier Science Publishers
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 401 words

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Abstract :

Keywords COVID-19; Social capital; Deaths; Social determinants of health; United States Highlights * Social capital differentials in Covid-19 deaths and hospitalizations evolved. * Social capital differentials in Covid-19 deaths were largest in late March-early April. * Relational social capital was associated with better outcomes in a sustained way. * Cognitive social capital was not associated with better outcomes after spring 2020. * Relational social capital was associated with lower overall deaths by January 2021. Abstract We use county level data from the United States to document the role of social capital the evolution of COVID-19 between January 2020 and January 2021. We find that social capital differentials in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations depend on the dimension of social capital and the timeframe considered. Communities with higher levels of relational and cognitive social capital were especially successful in lowering COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations than communities with lower social capital between late March and early April. A difference of one standard deviation in relational social capital corresponded to a reduction of 30% in the number of COVID-19 deaths recorded. After April 2020, differentials in COVID-19 deaths related to relational social capital persisted although they became progressively less pronounced. By contrast, the period of March--April 2020, our estimates suggest that there was no statistically significant difference in the number of deaths recorded in areas with different levels of cognitive social capital. In fact, from late June-early July onwards the number of new deaths recorded as being due to COVID-19 was higher in communities with higher levels of cognitive social capital. The overall number of deaths recorded between January 2020 and January 2021 was lower in communities with higher levels of relational social capital. Our findings suggest that the association between social capital and public health outcomes can vary greatly over time and across indicators of social capital. Author Affiliation: (a) Social Research Institute, University College London, London, United Kingdom (b) Economics Department, King's College London, London, United Kingdom (c) Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Cambridge MA, USA (d) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston MA, USA * Corresponding author. British Academy Global Professor, Social Research Institute, Institute of Education - University College London, 55-59 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0NU, United Kingdom. Article History: Revised 15 February 2021; Accepted 15 April 2021 Byline: Francesca Borgonovi [f.borgonovi@ucl.ac.uk] (a,*), Elodie Andrieu [elodie.andrieu@kcl.ac.uk] (b), S.V. Subramanian [svsubram@hsph.harvard.edu] (c,d)

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A661762565