Introduction The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic caused considerable psychological and physical effects in healthy and diseased New Yorkers aside from the effects in those who were infected. We investigated the relationship between known risk-enhancing and health-promoting factors (social and medical), comorbidity indicators, and, as the primary outcome, health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Methods Between April 22 and May 5, 2020, a market research agency (Dynata) administered a digital survey including the EQ-5D-5L and items related to individual characteristics, social position, occupational and insurance status, living situation, exposures (smoking and COVID- 19), detailed chronic conditions, and experienced access to care to an existing internet panel representative of New Yorkers. Results 2684 persons completed the questionnaire. The median age was 48 years old, and most respondents were non-Hispanic white (74%) and reported at least higher vocational training or a university education (83%). During COVID-19, mean HRQoL scores were 0.82 for the EQ-5D-5L index and 79.3 for the EQ VAS. Scores varied for healthy and diseased respondents differently by the above determinants. Lower age, impaired occupational status, loss of health insurance, and limited access to care exerted more influence on EQ-5D-5L scores of diseased persons compared to healthy persons. Among diseased persons, the number of chronic conditions and limited access to health care had the strongest association with EQ-5D-5L scores. While EQ-5D-5L scores improved with increasing age, gender had no noticeable effect. Deprivation factors showed moderate effects, which largely disappeared in (stratified) multivariable analysis, suggesting mediation through excess chronic morbidity and poor healthcare access. Generally, modifying effects were larger in the EQ-5D-5L as compared to the EQ VAS. Conclusions Almost all factors relating to a disadvantaged position showed a negative association with HRQoL. In diseased respondents, pre-existing chronic comorbidity and experienced access to health care are key factors.
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© 2022 Lubetkin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.