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Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Patients Hospitalized with Laboratory-Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019

Our take —

Older age and underlying health conditions (hypertension, obesity, chronic lung disease, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease) were associated with COVID-19 hospitalization in a U.S. population-based surveillance network, though no formal comparisons or tests for significance were performed. Results support previously reported evidence. African-Americans appear to have been hospitalized at a disproportionately higher rate. Results are preliminary, but the surveillance network will provide valuable data on the U.S. epidemic, going forward.

Study design

Case Series

Study population and setting

Data are presented from a new population-wide surveillance network (COVID-NET) that uses existing RSV and influenza surveillance networks, drawing from catchment areas in 14 U.S. states and comprising about 10% of the U.S. population. The study considers 1,482 COVID-19 hospitalizations from March 1, 2020 to March 30, 2020, 178 of whom had data available on underlying conditions.

Summary of Main Findings

The hospitalization rate was 4.6 per 100,000 population, and the highest rate (13.8) was seen among patients ≥65 years of age. 159/178 (89%) of hospitalized patients with available data had at least one underlying health condition. The most common conditions were hypertension (50%), obesity (48%), chronic lung disease (34%), diabetes mellitus (28%), and cardiovascular disease (28%). Hospitalization rates were higher among men than women (5.1 vs. 4.1 per 100,000). African-Americans represented 18% of the catchment population but 33% of hospitalizations with available data on race.

Study Strengths

The catchment population was large and geographically diverse. Data collection instruments were standardized.

Limitations

Data were restricted to hospitalized COVID-19 cases. The sample of patients with available data on underlying conditions is small (n=178). No hypothesis testing or formal comparisons were performed. No data are presented on the representativeness of the COVID-NET population with respect to the U.S. population. Data are preliminary, and testing for SARS-CoV-2 was limited during the study period.

Value added

The study supports evidence from China and Europe that older age and presence of underlying conditions are risk factors for hospitalization for COVID-19.