Effects of Maternal SARS-CoV-2 Infection on Neonatal Discharge Planning and Care: Exacerbation of Racial and Ethnic Healthcare Disparities

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Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities


OBJECTIVES: To determine if SARS-CoV-2 disproportionately impacted infants born to racial and ethnic minorities and if virus exposure led to decreased access to care. METHODS: This study was an observational case-control study, between March 2020 and March 2022 in Portland, Maine. Forty-seven cases and 47 controls were enrolled. Cases were infants born to mothers diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 at delivery, and controls were infants matched by date of birth, born to SARS-CoV-2 negative women. Demographic data, maternal clinical data, infant outcomes, and infant discharge plans were compared using Chi squared or Fisher Exact tests. Logistic regression was used to examine the impact of race on neonatal SARS-CoV-2 exposure. RESULTS: Infants exposed to SARS-CoV-2 were more likely Black or Hispanic than White and Non-Hispanic early in the pandemic, with reversal during the second year. SARS-CoV-2-exposed infants experienced delays in routine newborn outpatient care, although delay improved over the pandemic. CONCLUSION: Infants exposed to SARS-CoV-2 were initially more likely to be infants of color. During this time, infants exposed to SARS-CoV-2 were also experiencing significant delays in newborn care.


Sarah DiBrigida- Resident