Treating the coronavirus
Treating the coronavirusiStock

The overwhelming majority of adults hospitalized in the United States after being infected with the coronavirus suffered from one or more pre-existing conditions, a new study shows, with more than 99% of COVID patients who died having at least one pre-existing condition.

The study, published last week by the US Centers for Disease Control, examined data from the Premier Healthcare Database, spanning nearly 5,000,000 million total hospitalizations at over 800 hospitals across the US from March 2020 to March 2021.

Of those nearly five million hospitalizations, eleven percent (540,667) of patients were diagnosed with COVID-19.

The vast majority of hospitalized COVID patients, the study found, had at least two pre-existing medical conditions, with close to half of all hospitalized COVID patients having at least six pre-existing conditions.

Just 5.1% of all hospitalized COVID patients had no pre-existing condition, compared to 94.9% who had at least one. Only 7.4% had a single pre-existing condition, with 39.3% having two to six conditions, 31% having six to ten, and 17.3% having more than 10 pre-existing conditions.

Of the 540,667 hospitalized coronavirus patients included in the study, 80,174 died during the observation period (March 2020 to March 2021).

A whopping 99.1% of the patients who died had at least one pre-existing condition, with just 740 having no prior condition on record.

Most patients who died from COVID had multiple pre-existing conditions, with just 2.6% suffering from only one condition, compared to 32.3% who had two to five preexisting conditions, 39.1% who had six to ten, and 25.1% who have more than ten preexisting conditions.

The median age of patients hospitalized with COVID was 68, while the median age of those who died with COVID was 74. Nearly half (49.8%) were over the age of 75.

Among younger patients (under 40) who were hospitalized with COVID, more than a third (36.9%) were diagnosed as obese, 17.9% had diabetes, and 16.7% had essential hypertension (high blood pressure).

The CDC study also assessed the risk factors for dying of COVID, and found that after obesity, the second risk factor which correlated most strongly with dying while infected with the coronavirus was anxiety and fear-related disorders.

Obese patients had a risk ratio of 1.30 compared to patients with no pre-existing conditions – meaning that a patient diagnosed with obesity but no other conditions was 30% more likely to die of the virus than a non-obese patient with no pre-existing conditions.

Anxiety and fear-related disorders came in a close second with a risk ratio of 1.28, indicating that patients suffering from anxiety were 28% more likely to die of COVID than patients not suffering from anxiety.

Diabetes had a risk ratio slightly lower than anxiety, at 1.26, followed by chronic kidney disease at 1.21, neurocognitive disorders at 1.18, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at 1.18, and aplastic anemia at 1.17.

Among younger patients (18 to 39), the correlation between risk factors like obesity were especially strong, with obese patients under 40 more than twice as likely (risk ratio 2.20) to die as non-obese COVID patients of the same age cohort. Diabetes with complications also showed a large risk ratio (1.84) among younger patients.