Bans on evictions and utility shutoffs during the pandemic may not only be keeping people safe and warm in their homes: They might also limit the spread of COVID-19, new research suggests. Over the first nine months of the pandemic, the study found, U.S. counties with those policies reduced COVID-19 infection rates by about 4%. The impact on deaths appeared greater: Moratoria on evictions, specifically, were linked to an 11% decrease in COVID-related deaths, while bans on utility disconnections were tied to a 7% decline. The findings cannot prove that housing protections directly prevented COVID-19 infections, the researchers said. But the team, from Duke University, accounted for many other factors that might explain the connection, including state and federal actions taken at the time, from stay-at-home orders to mask mandates. They also weighed information on counties’ demographics, like median incomes and health insurance coverage, the percentage of older adults, and the percentage of people with obesity or diabetes. #covid-19 #housing
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