We’re still learning new things about COVID-19 on a near-daily basis but one of the earliest facts we knew about this virus was that it was particularly difficult for people with preexisting conditions. Which preexisting conditions put you at greater risk, however, was always a question that remained unanswered and up for debate. Chronic respiratory diseases like asthma or autoimmune disorders like HIV seemed likely to top that list, but a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examining over 5,700 New York City COVID-19 patients is finally starting to give us a clearer idea of which groups are at risk.
Patients were surveyed from Northwell Health System, which has the largest concentration of COVID-19 patients in the country. The study revealed that 88% of hospitalized patients in the New York City area had more than one preexisting condition, dropping sharply to just 6% amongst patients with one or no preexisting conditions. The five most common preexisting conditions that resulted in hospitalization were hypertension (53.1%), obesity (41.7%), diabetes (31.7%), morbid obesity (19%), and coronary artery disease (10.4%), with Asthma (8.4%) as the sixth most common, and HIV the 14th most common preexisting condition (0.8%).
The median age of the patients requiring hospital care was 63 years old, and 94% of patients had at least one pre-existing condition. Researchers in the study also examined the outcome data of the 2,634 patients who had either been discharged from the hospital or died and found that 14% of them needed ICU treatment, 12% required the help of a ventilator, 3% needed kidney replacement therapy and 21% died. Patients who had diabetes in addition to COVID-19 were much more likely to require the need of a ventilator and although only 12% of patients needed a ventilator, a shockingly high 88% of those patients died, making diabetes one of deadliest conditions for COVID-19 patients.
The full study is free to download at the JAMA Network, so check that for a full breakdown of the study’s findings.