Socioeconomic inequalities of Long COVID: a retrospective population-based cohort study in the United Kingdom
Shabnam S., Razieh C., Dambha-Miller H., Yates T., Gillies C., Chudasama YV., Pareek M., Banerjee A., Kawachi I., Lacey B., Morris EJA., White M., Zaccardi F., Khunti K., Islam N.
Objectives To estimate the risk of Long COVID by socioeconomic deprivation and to further examine the inequality by sex and occupation. Design We conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study using data from the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey between 26 April 2020 and 31 January 2022. This is the largest nationally representative survey of COVID-19 in the UK with longitudinal data on occupation, COVID-19 exposure and Long COVID. Setting Community-based survey in the UK. Participants A total of 201,799 participants aged 16 to 64 years and with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Main outcome measures The risk of Long COVID at least 4 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection by index of multiple deprivation (IMD) and the modifying effects of socioeconomic deprivation by sex and occupation. Results Nearly 10% ( n = 19,315) of participants reported having Long COVID. Multivariable logistic regression models, adjusted for a range of variables (demographic, co-morbidity and time), showed that participants in the most deprived decile had a higher risk of Long COVID (11.4% vs. 8.2%; adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1.46; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.34, 1.59) compared to the least deprived decile. Significantly higher inequalities (most vs. least deprived decile) in Long COVID existed in healthcare and patient-facing roles (aOR: 1.76; 95% CI: 1.27, 2.44), in the education sector (aOR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.31, 2.16) and in women (aOR: 1.56; 95% CI: 1.40, 1.73) than men (aOR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.15, 1.51). Conclusions This study provides insights into the heterogeneous degree of inequality in Long COVID by deprivation, sex and occupation. These findings will help inform public health policies and interventions in incorporating a social justice and health inequality lens.