Americans without internet more likely to die from COVID-19, study finds

The lack of reliable internet access is a factor consistently associated with high risk of death from COVID-19, according to a study published March 4 in JAMA Network Open.

University of Chicago researchers analyzed data on social determinants of health and COVID-19 mortality across 3,142 counties in 50 states from Jan. 22, 2020-Feb. 28, 2021. They found the lack of internet access was consistently linked to high COVID-19 mortality risk, regardless of other demographic factors such as age, education and insurance status.

For every additional 1 percent of residents in a county who have internet access, it is estimated that between 2.4 and six COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people could be prevented, according to the study.

"We believe this finding suggests that more awareness is needed about the essential asset of technological access to reliable information, remote work, schooling opportunities, resource purchasing and/or social community," the researchers wrote. "Populations with limited internet access remain understudied and are often excluded in pandemic research."

Read the full study here.

 

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