Importance of collecting data on socioeconomic determinants from the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak onwards

Publication notice : Khalatbari-Soltani, Saman, Robert G Cumming, Cyrille Delpierre, et Michelle Kelly-Irving. « Importance of collecting data on socioeconomic determinants from the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak onwards ». Journal of epidemiology & community health, 8 mai 2020, 1‑4.


Disadvantaged socioeconomic position (SEP) is widely associated with disease and mortality, and there is no reason to think this will not be the case for the newly emerged coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has reached a pandemic level. Individuals with a more disadvantaged SEP are more likely to be affected by most of the known risk factors of COVID-19. SEP has been previously established as a potential determinant of infectious diseases in general. We hypothesise that SEP plays an important role in the COVID-19 pandemic either directly or indirectly via occupation, living conditions, health-related behaviours, presence of comorbidities and immune functioning. However, the influence of socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 transmission, severity and outcomes is not yet known and is subject to scrutiny and investigation. Here we briefly review the extent to which SEP has been considered as one of the potential risk factors of COVID-19. From 29 eligible studies that reported the characteristics of patients with COVID-19 and their potential risk factors, only one study reported the occupational position of patients with mild or severe disease. This brief overview of the literature highlights that important socioeconomic characteristics are being overlooked when data are collected. As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, it is crucial to collect and report data on socioeconomic determinants as well as race/ethnicity to identify high-risk populations. A systematic recording of socioeconomic characteristics of patients with COVID-19 will be beneficial to identify most vulnerable groups, to identify how SEP relates to COVID-19 and to develop equitable public health prevention measures, guidelines and interventions.