Hospitalized COVID-19 patients 3 times more likely to die than people with flu

Credit: CC0 Public Domain.

Scientists from the Hospital del Mar found that adults (aged 18 or older) hospitalized with COVID-19 are at higher risk of complications and death than those with influenza.

They also suggest that COVID-19 is linked to both longer stays in hospital and intensive care, and costs nearly twice as much to treat.

The research was presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases and was conducted by Dr. Inmaculada Lopez Montesinos et al.

In the study, the team examined the medical records of 187 patients admitted to the hospital with seasonal influenza infection between 2017 and 2019, and 187 COVID-19 patients hospitalized between March and May 2020.

The researchers found that flu patients tended to have more existing chronic illnesses and problems performing activities of daily living than COVID-19 patients, but were less likely to have overweight or obese.

They found that COVID-19 was associated with a higher risk of infection severity and admission to ICU.

In addition, COVID-19 patients were more likely to experience acute kidney injury, blood clots, and moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (where the lungs cannot provide the body’s vital organs with enough oxygen)

Influenza patients were more likely to suffer from bacterial pneumonia.

Overall, 29/187 (15%) COVID-19 patients and 10/187 (5%) influenza patients died of any cause within 30-days of hospitalization, and the death rate after 90 days was even higher (19%; 35/187 vs 6%; 12/187).

After accounting for other factors, researchers found that COVID-19 patients were more than three times as likely to die within 30 and 90 days of being admitted to the hospital than influenza patients.

Further analyses showed that COVID-19 patients spent far longer in hospital and ICU compared with influenza patients.

Moreover, the average cost of critical care for COVID-19 patients was almost twice as much as for influenza patients. Pharmacy treatment and testing costs were also significantly higher in the COVID-19 group.

These findings suggest COVID-19 is far more lethal than influenza.

Despite influenza patients being older and having more comorbid illnesses, COVID-19 patients had worse health outcomes and were considerably more expensive to treat.

Even for those people who are lucky enough to survive COVID-19 and make it out of the hospital, they will be forever scarred by the consequences.

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