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COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Federal and State Prisons

Educational Objective
To understand the rate of COVID-19 cases and deaths in federal and state prisons
1 Credit CME

Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represents a challenge to prisons because of close confinement, limited access to personal protective equipment, and elevated burden of cardiac and respiratory conditions that exacerbate COVID-19 risk among prisoners.1 Although news reports document prison outbreaks of COVID-19, systematic data are lacking.2 Relying on officially reported data, we examined COVID-19 case rates and deaths among federal and state prisoners.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Brendan Saloner, PhD, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N Broadway, Room 344, Baltimore, MD 21205 (bsaloner@jhu.edu).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Saloner reported receiving personal fees from the University of Wisconsin and the Cambridge Health Alliance. Ms DiLaura reported receiving personal fees from Bloomberg Law. No other disclosures were reported.

Published Online: July 8, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12528

Author Contributions: Mr Parish and Ms Ward had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Saloner, Parish, Ward.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Saloner, Parish, Ward, DiLaura.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Statistical analysis: Saloner, Parish, Ward.

Obtained funding: Dolovich.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Parish, Ward, Dolovich.

Supervision: Saloner, Parish, Dolovich.

Additonal Contributions: We acknowledge assistance from Nicholas Bell, MA (University of Pennsylvania), who provided uncompensated technical assistance.

References
1.
Hawks  L , Woolhandler  S , McCormick  D .  COVID-19 in prisons and jails in the United States.   JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 28, 2020.doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1856PubMedGoogle Scholar
2.
Aspinwall  C , Neff  J . These prisons are doing mass testing for COVID-19—and finding mass infections. Accessed June 15, 2020. https://www.themarshallproject.org/2020/04/24/these-prisons-are-doing-mass-testing-for-covid-19-and-finding-mass-infections
3.
UCLA Law. UCLA COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project. Accessed May 21, 2020. https://law.ucla.edu/academics/centers/criminal-justice-program/ucla-covid-19-behind-bars-data-project
4.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): cases in the US. Accessed June 13, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html
5.
Schneider  EC .  Failing the test—the tragic data gap undermining the US pandemic response.   N Engl J Med. Published online May 15, 2020.doi:10.1056/NEJMp2014836PubMedGoogle Scholar
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