Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-8-2020

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that once we control for comorbidity factors, age has a minor effect on COVID-19 mortality. This has implications for the treatment of current and recovered COVID-19 patients, including health screenings of recovered COVID-19 patients, triage decisions for patients in critical care, and prioritization of vaccinations when one is developed. The coronavirus epidemic in Italy has strained hospital resources, including ICU beds and ventilators for those experiencing acute respiratory failure. Studies of COVID-19 in China [1], Italy [2], and the United States [3] show that fatality rates increase rapidly with age, especially beyond age 60. The same studies and others also show that fatalities increase substantially with comorbidity factors, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and liver disease [1, 4, 5]. These morbidity factors are known to increase rapidly with age [6, 7, 8]. Among the elderly the higher incidence of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other comorbidity factors lead to their increased mortality from COVID-19. If it is primarily comorbidity factors that lead to death with COVID-19 patients and not age, then patient treatment will be more effective if physicians are aware that these factors lead to much greater risk than age does.

Comments

ESI Working Paper 20-30

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