COVID-19 is thought to be more prevalent among ethnic minorities and individuals with low socioeconomic status. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during the COVID-19 pandemic among citizens 15 years or older in Denmark living in social housing (SH) areas.
We conducted a study between January 8th and January 31st, 2021 with recruitment in 13 selected SH areas. Participants were offered a point-of-care rapid SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG antibody test and a questionnaire concerning risk factors associated with COVID-19. As a proxy for the general Danish population we accessed data on seroprevalence from Danish blood donors (total Ig ELISA assay) in same time period.
Of the 13,279 included participants, 2296 (17.3%) were seropositive (mean age 46.6 (SD 16.4) years, 54.2% female), which was 3 times higher than in the general Danish population (mean age 41.7 (SD 14.1) years, 48.5% female) in the same period (5.8%, risk ratios (RR) 2.96, 95% CI 2.78–3.16, p > 0.001). Seropositivity was higher among males (RR 1.1, 95% CI 1.05–1.22%, p = 0.001) and increased with age, with an OR seropositivity of 1.03 for each 10-year increase in age (95% CI 1.00–1.06, p = 0.031). Close contact with COVID-19-infected individuals was associated with a higher risk of infection, especially among household members (OR 5.0, 95% CI 4.1–6.2 p < 0,001). Living at least four people in a household significantly increased the OR of seropositivity (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0–1.6, p = 0.02) as did living in a multi-generational household (OR 1.3 per generation, 95% CI 1.1–1.6, p = 0.003). Only 1.6% of participants reported not following any of the national COVID-19 recommendations.
Danish citizens living in SH areas of low socioeconomic status had a three times higher SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence compared to the general Danish population. The seroprevalence was significantly higher in males and increased slightly with age. Living in multiple generations households or in households of more than four persons was a strong risk factor for being seropositive. Results of this study can be used for future consideration of the need for preventive measures in the populations living in SH areas.