The Majority of Serious COVID-19 Cases Occur in Older Adults with Comorbidities

The Majority of Serious COVID-19 Cases Occur in Older Adults with Comorbidities

A recent study conducted by the Regenstrief Institute has found that the majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations resulting in intensive care unit admission or death occurred in patients who were older or had multiple comorbidities. The study aimed to explore the clinical profile of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 over time and identify risk factors associated with critical outcomes by vaccination status.

The study collected data from 8 healthcare systems in 10 states from June 1, 2021, through March 29, 2023. The cohort included 60,488 hospitalized patients with a median age of 67 years, of which 51.6% were male and 69.3% were White. The patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 during different periods, ranging from the Delta variant period to the post-BA.4/BA.5 period.

The findings revealed that the median age of hospitalized patients increased from 60 to 75 years during the study period. Vaccination rates also increased from 18.2% to 70.1%, while critical outcomes decreased from 24.8% to 19.4%. However, patients with critical outcomes had a higher proportion of four or more comorbidities.

Furthermore, the presence of four or more comorbidities was strongly associated with a higher risk of critical outcomes, regardless of vaccination status. This indicates that individuals with multiple underlying health conditions are at a greater risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

It is important to note that although the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has decreased over time due to various factors, including vaccination and natural immunity, the virus is still present, and people are still being infected and hospitalized. The study highlights the need for continued vigilance and prioritization of at-risk individuals in terms of prevention, treatment, and care.

In conclusion, this study provides valuable insights into the characteristics and risk factors associated with serious COVID-19 cases over time. By understanding these factors, healthcare providers can better identify and prioritize high-risk individuals, ultimately improving outcomes for hospitalized patients.

– Griggs EP, Mitchell PK, Lazariu V, et al. Clinical epidemiology and risk factors for critical outcomes among vaccinated and unvaccinated adults hospitalized with COVID-19—VISION Network, 10 States, June 2021–March 2023. Clin Infect Dis. 2023.
– COVID-infected adults with 4 or more underlying diseases or advanced age face higher risk of ICU stay, death. News Release. Regenstrief Institute. September 19, 2023.

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