Brook Lyn Mercado

The people of the United States territories have faced healthcare inequalities for years due to ongoing, complex issues with their public health infrastructure. During the 2009 influenza pandemic, the U.S. territories faced several dilemmas such as insufficient funding, a lack of laboratory equipment, personal protective equipment, and surveillance to predict the spread of the disease, due to the ongoing health disparities and complications with their public health infrastructure (Dopson, 2016). These patterns have also been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to new dilemmas such as damaged physical public health infrastructure. The objective of this research was to compare and contrast the effects of COVID-19 in the U.S. territories to the U.S. while examining the social and cultural conditions of these territories. A descriptive analysis of data on covid mortality rates and vaccination rates has been completed showing that disparities did occur throughout the pandemic. These dependent variables were explored for all of the U.S. territories and thoroughly compared to one another to make a descriptive assessment of the vaccination and mortality outcomes. Relevant social and cultural conditions were examined as well (i.e. effects on infrastructure from natural disasters, and policies in place during the pandemic). Conclusions about these outcomes within the territories have allowed us to recognize distinct patterns from the latest data available. There are differences in how these disparities occur in the U.S. territories and how COVID-19 has affected them. Through this study, there have been new themes seen throughout the pandemic such as a sense of community and support, geographic isolation, and politics that may have contributed to the vaccination rates and mortality rates seen in these territories. The implications of this study push for future research to be completed as casual analyses were not completed and should be looked at moving forward.

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