What are risk factors for severe illness in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

Updated: Jun 16, 2020
  • Author: Medscape Drugs & Diseases; more...
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Answer

Answer

Critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are usually older (median age 66 years vs 51 years) and have underlying comorbid conditions (72% vs 37%). [2]

Age

Age is a strong risk factor for severe illnes, complications, and death. In a Chinese study comprising more than 44,000 patients with confirmed COVID-19, mortality data included the following [1] :

  • Age ≥80 years: 14.8%

  • Age 70-79 years: 8.0%

  • Age 60-69 years: 3.6%

  • Age 50-59 years: 1.3%

  • Age 40-49 years: 0.4%

  • Age < 40 years: 0.2%.

Similarly, early US epidemiologic data indicate the following case fatalities [1] :

  • Age ≥85 years: 10-27%

  • Age 65-84 years: 3-11%

  • Age 55-64%: 1-3%

  • Age 0-54 years: < 1%

Comorbidities

In the same Chinese study mentioned above, patients without an underlying condition had an overall case fatality rate of 0.9%. [1] Patients with the following comorbidities had high case fatality rates, as follows:

  • Cardiovascular disease: 10.5%

  • Diabetes: 7.3%

  • Chronic respiratory disease: About 6%

  • Hypertension: About 6%

  • Cancer: About 6%


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