COVID-19: risk factors for severe disease and death

illustration of coronavirus cell

This article was written for The BMJ by BHP’s Rachel E Jordan (Reader in Epidemiology and Primary Care), Peymané Adab (Professor of Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Public Health)  and KK Cheng (Professor of Public Health and Primary Care. It can be accessed in full via the BMJ website

A long list is emerging from largely unadjusted analyses, with age near the top.

As the Covid-19 pandemic accelerates, governments are warning people at high risk to be particularly stringent in observing social distancing measures because if they become ill they are more likely to need critical care including ventilation, and to die. Most data on Covid-19 are from China, and although most confirmed cases have been classified as mild or moderate, 14% are severe and 5% critical. Case fatality rates are difficult to assess with certainty but could be as high as 1%, which is much greater than seasonal influenza at about 0.1%.

The article covers:

      • Characteristics of disease victims in China
      • Typical comorbidities
      • Analysis of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s report
      • Impact of smoking
      • Risk in children vs adults
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