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Analysis of Attitudes About COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Public Health Guidelines Among Undocumented Immigrants in the US

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

More than 10.7 million undocumented immigrants and 8 million citizens with at least 1 undocumented family member live in the US.1 Evidence shows that immigrants are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection24 and have high levels of distrust in public systems.5 Contact tracing is an effective way to mitigate disease transmission but requires trust and cooperation among infected persons and their contacts. Using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sample contact tracing script as a framework, we describe undocumented immigrants’ attitudes about contact tracing and challenges that may be a factor in their ability to follow contact tracing and public health guidelines.

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Accepted for Publication: October 12, 2021.

Published: December 8, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.37719

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2021 Choi HY et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Hye Young Choi, MPH, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115 (hyeyoungchoi@hsph.harvard.edu).

Author Contributions: Ms Choi and Dr Sudhinaraset had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: All authors.

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

Drafting of the manuscript: All authors.

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

Statistical analysis: Choi.

Obtained funding: Sudhinaraset.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Sudhinaraset.

Supervision: Sudhinaraset.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Sudhinaraset reported receiving grants from the University of California Office of the President to collect data during the conduct of the study and grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Society of Family Planning, and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities outside the submitted work. No other disclosures were reported.

Additional Contributions: We thank Fernanda Gutierrez Matos, MPH, CHES, Department of Population Health Sciences, Virginia Tech, for providing insightful discussions about public health surveillance. She received compensation for her contributions. We also thank undergraduate assistant Catherine Kim, University of California, Los Angeles, for her assistance in coding. She did not receive compensation for her contributions to this article.

References
1.
Mathema  S . Keeping families together: why all Americans should care about what happens to unauthorized immigrants. Center for American Progress. March 16, 2017. Accessed September 18, 2020. https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2017/03/15112450/KeepFamiliesTogether-brief.pdf?_ga=2.200841386.565165081.1600356813-493406110.1600356813
2.
Page  KR , Flores-Miller  A .  Lessons we’ve learned—COVID-19 and the undocumented Latinx community.   N Engl J Med. 2021;384(1):5-7. doi:10.1056/NEJMp2024897PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
Figueroa  JF , Wadhera  RK , Lee  D , Yeh  RW , Sommers  BD .  Community-level factors associated with racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 rates in Massachusetts.   Health Aff (Millwood). 2020;39(11):1984-1992. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2020.01040PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Ross  J , Diaz  CM , Starrels  JL .  The disproportionate burden of COVID-19 for immigrants in the Bronx, New York.   JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(8):1043-1044. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2131PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
5.
Morey  BN .  Mechanisms by which anti-immigrant stigma exacerbates racial/ethnic health disparities.   Am J Public Health. 2018;108(4):460-463. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.304266PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
6.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contact tracer’s interview tool: notifying people about an exposure to COVID-19. Updated September 22, 2021. Accessed July 22, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/notification-of-exposure.html
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