The strongest predictor of COVID-19 infection among these women was residence in a neighborhood where households with many people are common. Pregnant women who lived in a neighborhood with high “household membership,” meaning a lot of people per household, were three times more likely to be infected with the virus, and greater household crowding (defined as a family with more than one person per room) in the neighborhood was also a factor.
There was, however, no association between infection and overall population density.
“New York City has the highest population density of any city in the United States, but our study found that the risks are related more to density in people’s domestic environments rather than density in the city or within neighborhoods,” says Gyamfi-Bannerman.
“For our pregnant patients, that may mean counseling women about the risk of infection if they are considering bringing in other family members to help during pregnancy or postpartum,” she says. This also signals the need to provide more guidance and information about safety measures for pregnant women who live in multi-generational homes.