Social epidemiological research has documented that health outcomes, such as the risk of becoming diseased or dying, are closely tied to socioeconomic status. The aim of the current study was to investigate the impact of socioeconomic status on morbidity, hospitalization, and mortality outcomes throughout five waves of the pandemic amongst the Israeli population. A retrospective archive study was conducted in Israel from March 2020 to February 2022 in which data were obtained from the Israeli Ministry of Health’s (MOH) open COVID-19 database. Our findings, though requiring careful and cautious interpretation, indicate that the socioeconomic gradient patterns established in previous COVID-19 literature are not applicable to Israel throughout the five waves of the pandemic. The conclusions of this study indicate a much more dynamic and complex picture, where there is no single group that dominates the realm of improved outcomes or bears the burden of disease with respect to morbidity, hospitalization, and mortality. We show that health trends cannot necessarily be generalized to all countries and are very much dynamic and contingent on the socio-geographical context and must be thoroughly examined throughout distinct communities with consideration of the specific characteristics of the disease. Furthermore, the implications of this study include the importance of identifying the dynamic interplay and interactions of sociodemographic characteristics and health behavior in order to enhance efforts toward achieving improved health outcomes by policymakers and researchers.
- health trends
- socioeconomic gradient