NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Since the start of the pandemic, people in US jails have faced an inequitably high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection -- overcrowding and lack of hygiene supplies have left jail populations particularly vulnerable to outbreaks, while frequent population turnover has made it difficult to prevent and track the spread of new variants, said an article published early this week.
"In addition, racial incarceration disparities and frequent COVID-19 cases in jails further contribute to longstanding racial health inequities," said the article on the website of the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.
These challenges are compounded by unique public health issues in the southeastern United States, where COVID-19 rates have been higher and vaccination rates have been lower than in other parts of the country, it noted.
"Jails are often operated by county agencies, unlike prisons, and have no centralized system to report rates of infection or vaccination among their populations and staff," it said.
This makes it extremely difficult for researchers and public health agencies to understand how the pandemic is impacting jails and create data-driven response strategies, it added.