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Black Patients Overrepresented in Hospitalized COVID-19 Cohort

Black patients not more likely to receive invasive mechanical ventilation, die during hospitalization

FRIDAY, May 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In a cohort of hospitalized adults with COVID-19, black patients have a similar probability of receiving invasive mechanical ventilation or dying compared with nonblack patients, but they are disproportionately represented among hospitalized patients, according to a study published online April 29 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Jeremy A.W. Gold, M.D., from the CDC-COVID-19 Emergency Response, in Atlanta, and colleagues summarized medical record-abstracted data for 305 hospitalized adult patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 admitted during March 2020 in Georgia. Of the patients, 61.6 percent were aged <65 years and 83.2 percent with known race/ethnicity were non-Hispanic black.

The researchers found that 26.2 percent of the patients did not have conditions thought to put them at elevated risk for severe disease, including age ≥65 years. A higher proportion of hospitalized patients were black than expected based on overall hospital admissions. Black patients were not more likely than nonblack patients to receive invasive mechanical ventilation or to die during hospitalization in an adjusted time-to-event analysis (hazard ratio, 0.63; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.35 to 1.13).

"Public officials should consider racial differences among patients affected by COVID-19 when planning prevention activities," the authors write. "Approximately one quarter of patients had no high-risk conditions, and 5 percent of these patients died, suggesting that all adults, regardless of underlying conditions or age, are at risk for serious COVID-19-associated illness."

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