A new study from the CDC found that most patients had one or more underlying conditions before contracting COVID-19

By Julie Mazziotta
April 09, 2020 01:52 PM
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The majority of people hospitalized with the new coronavirus, COVID-19, have preexisiting conditions, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control found.

The study looked at the demographics of 1,482 COVID-19 patients in 14 different states, including New York, California, Michigan and Georgia, who were admitted between March 1 and 30. Nearly all patients — about 90 percent — had preexisiting conditions that could exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms. The most common conditions were obesity, hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The study data also showed that the hospitalized patients were more likely to be adults over 65. They were also majority male, 54 percent, and black people were hospitalized at a rate disproportional to the population. Though black people make up 18 percent of the total population in the areas studied, they represented 33 percent of the hospitalizations. An additional 45 percent of COVID-19 patients in the study were white, and 8 percent were Hispanic.

Additionally, while the patients hospitalized for COVID-19 had similar preexisiting conditions as those who have been hospitalized for the seasonal flu, the rate of hospitalization is far higher for COVID-19. For the flu, adults over 85 are hospitalized at a rate of 5.4 per 100,000 people. With COVID-19, that rate jumps up to 17.2.

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The researchers warn that the findings are still preliminary, and represent just about 10 percent of the U.S. population, but they expect to solidify their data as the number of COVID-19 cases increase, and more medical records become available. They said that further research is needed, but that the data shows that the preventive measures currently in place across the U.S. are needed.

“These findings underscore the importance of preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and wearing face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain) to protect older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions,” they said.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.