“Predicting which hospitalized COVID-19 patients have the highest risk of dying has taken on urgent importance as cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. continue to surge to record high numbers during the month of December,” said study corresponding author Anthony D. Harris. Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM.
For example, higher-risk patients may be given the drug remdesivir earlier in their hospitalization to help prevent severe complications or may be considered for closer monitoring or ICU admission. Healthcare providers may also want to consider these risks when determining which COVID-19 patients could benefit the most from the new monoclonal antibody therapies that, if given in the first few days of the infection, can reduce the risk of hospitalization.
Age remained the strongest predictor of mortality from COVID-19. Overall, nearly 19 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients died from their infection with the lowest mortality among pediatric patients, which was less than 2 percent. Mortality rates increased with each decade of life with the highest mortality, 34 percent, among those aged 80 and older.
“Older patients still have the highest risk of dying, but younger patients with obesity or hypertension have the highest risk of dying relative to other patients their age without these conditions,” said study lead author Katherine E. Goodman, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM.