Jeramey Jannene

Hospital Care Needed in 31% of U.S. COVID-19 Cases

CDC report on first 4,226 cases shows death rate about 3.4%, skewing toward elderly.

By - Mar 18th, 2020 04:21 pm
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2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides sobering data on hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission and fatality rates for the first 4,226 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States.

The data covers cases through March 16th and shows that the number of people hospitalized increases with age, but is not restricted to higher age ranges.

In cases where both the age and hospitalization status of the individual was known (less than half the cases) the hospitalization rate was 31.4 percent. That ranges from 2.5 percent for individuals ages 0 to 19 to 70.3 percent for individuals over the age of 85.

The ICU admission rate ranges from 0 percent for the youngest group to 29 percent for the oldest. It averages 11.5 percent.

The fatality rate has a similar range, but much lower average. The youngest age group has zero fatalities, while the oldest group has a 27.3 percent fatality rate. The average rate is 3.4 percent.

Individuals aged 20 to 44 had a 20.8 percent hospitalization rate, 4.2 ICU admission rate and 0.2 percent fatality rate. Those numbers grow steadily as an individual’s age increases.

The report mirrors early data from China that showed 80 percent of deaths occurred in individuals age 60 or older. The CDC reports 80 percent of deaths were for individuals 65 or older.

“Similar to reports from other countries, this finding suggests that the risk for serious disease and death from COVID-19 is higher in older age groups,” says the report.

Officials continue to implement measures to “flatten the curve” in an effort to reduce the strain on the healthcare system by slowing the rate of cases. But as testing capacity grows, the number of cases continues to grow exponentially.

Statewide, Wisconsin cases have grown from 47 reported Monday to 106 today. Illinois just reported 128 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 288. The state also reported its first death.

The report from the CDC notes a number of challenges getting complete data as the number of cases grows. “Data on age and outcomes, including hospitalization, ICU admission, and death, were missing for 9%–53% of cases, which likely resulted in an underestimation of these outcomes,” says the report. The coverage in this article only references statistics where all the data was known.

The report cautions that the data does not include information on underlying health conditions and that initial COVID-19 tests were given primarily to individuals with travel histories or persons with more severe disease, which could impact the results.

More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

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