AbstractIn this study, our goal is to identify potentially vulnerable communities that could be subject to ongoing or compounding impacts from the pandemic and/or that may experience a slower recovery due to sociodemographic factors. For this purpose, we compiled information from multiple databases related to sociodemographic and health variables. We used a ranking-based method to integrate them and develop new combined indices. We also investigated a time-dependent correlation between vulnerability components and COVID-19 statistics to understand their time-dependent relationship. We ultimately developed pandemic vulnerability indices by combining CDC’s social vulnerability index, our newly developed composite health vulnerability index, and COVID-19 impact indices. We also considered additional assessments include expected annual loss due to natural hazards and community resilience. Potential hot spots (at the county level) were identified throughout the United States, and some general trends were noted. Counties with high COVID-19 impact indices and higher values of the pandemic vulnerability indices were primarily located in the southern United States or coastal areas in the Eastern and Southwestern United States at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over time, the computed pandemic vulnerability indices shifted to higher values for counties in the southern and north-central United States, while values calculated for the northwestern and northeastern communities tended to decrease.

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