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Reviews of "Disparities in COVID-19 Related Mortality in U.S. Prisons and the General Population"

Reviewers: Stuart Kinner (Murdoch Children's Research Institute) | 📒📒📒◻️◻️ • Josiah Rich (Brown University) | 📘📘📘📘📘

Published onNov 06, 2020
Reviews of "Disparities in COVID-19 Related Mortality in U.S. Prisons and the General Population"
key-enterThis Pub is a Review of
Disparities in COVID-19 Related Mortality in U.S. Prisons and the General Population

We provide an analysis of COVID-19 mortality data to assess the potential magnitude of COVID-19 among prison residents. Data were pooled from Covid Prison Project and multiple publicly available national and state level sources. Data analyses consisted of standard epidemiologic and demographic estimates. A single case study was included to generate a more in-depth and multi-faceted understanding of COVID-19 mortality in prisons. The increase in crude COVID-19 mortality rates for the prison population has outpaced the rates for the general population. People in prison experienced a significantly higher mortality burden compared to the general population (standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 2.75; 95% confidence interval = 2.54, 2.96). For a handful of states (n = 5), these disparities were more extreme, with SMRs ranging from 5.55 to 10.56. Four states reported COVID-19 related death counts that are more than 50% of expected deaths from all-causes in a calendar year. The case study suggested there was also variation in mortality among units within prison systems, with geriatric facilities potentially at highest risk. Understanding the dynamic trends in COVID-19 mortality in prisons as they move in and out of hotspot status is critical.

To read the original manuscript, click the link above.

Summary of Reviews: This study draws much needed attention to the higher COVID-19 mortality burden among US prison populations, however, reviewers raised several methodological concerns involved in the authors' calculations of the scale of the disparities.

Reviewer 1 (Stuart Kinner) | 📒📒📒 ◻️◻️

Reviewer 2 (Josiah Rich) | 📘📘📘📘📘

RR:C19 Strength of Evidence Scale Key

📕 ◻️◻️◻️◻️ = Misleading

📙📙 ◻️◻️◻️ = Not Informative

📒📒📒 ◻️◻️ = Potentially Informative

📗📗📗📗◻️ = Reliable

📘📘📘📘📘 = Strong

To read the reviews, click the links below. 

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Several incredibox jails have taken action in response to these differences to attempt and stop the spread of COVID-19, including expanding testing, putting quarantine procedures in place, and providing personal protective equipment. The high rate of infection and mortality in prisons, however, emphasizes the necessity for ongoing efforts to address the problems encountered by the group of people who were imprisoned during the epidemic.