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. 2020 May 21;15(5):e0233329.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0233329. eCollection 2020.

Is Social Connectedness a Risk Factor for the Spreading of COVID-19 Among Older Adults? The Italian Paradox

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Is Social Connectedness a Risk Factor for the Spreading of COVID-19 Among Older Adults? The Italian Paradox

Giuseppe Liotta et al. PLoS One. .
Free article

Abstract

Italy was one of the first European countries affected by the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with over 105,000 infected people and close to 13,000 deaths, until March 31st. The pandemic has hit especially hard because of the country's demographic structure, with a high percentage of older adults. The authors explore the possibility, recently aired in some studies, of extensive intergenerational contact as a possible determinant of the severity of the pandemic among the older Italian adults. We analyzed several variables to test this hypothesis, such as the percentage of infected patients aged >80 years, available nursing home beds, COVID-19 incidence rate, and the number of days from when the number of positive tests exceeded 50 (epidemic maturity). We also included in the analysis mean household size and percentage of households comprising one person, in the region. Paradoxically, the results are opposite of what was previously reported. The pandemic was more severe in regions with higher family fragmentation and increased availability of residential health facilities.

Conflict of interest statement

the authors have declared taht no competing interest exists.

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