COVID-19 and Kidney Disease Disparities in the United States

Tessa K. Novick, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology, University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, Austin, TX.
Katherine Rizzolo, Department of Internal Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Portland, ME.
Lilia Cervantes, Division of Hospital Medicine and Office of Research, Denver Health, Denver, CO; Division of General Internal Medicine and Hospital Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, CO. Electronic address:


Racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, age, and sex-related health disparities in kidney disease are prominent in the United States. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disproportionately affected marginalized populations. Older adults, people experiencing unstable housing, racial and ethnic minorities, and immigrants are potentially at increased risk for infection and severe complications from COVID-19. The direct and societal effects of the pandemic may increase risk of incident kidney disease and lead to worse outcomes for those with kidney disease. The rapid transition to telemedicine potentially limits access to care for older adults, immigrants, and people experiencing unstable housing. The economic impact of the pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women, minorities, and immigrants, which may limit their ability to manage kidney disease and lead to complications or kidney disease progression. We describe the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized populations and highlight how the pandemic may exacerbate existing disparities in kidney disease.