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Characteristics of Hospitalized Patients

By April 23, 2020Commentary

A large hospital system in the New York City metropolitan area has given us a detailed look at the characteristics of 5700 patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease.   (JAMA Article)   The median age was 63 and 60% were male.  The patients had a high burden of comorbidities, only 53% had an estimated life expectancy of over ten years.  No one died under that age of 20.  And these were patients who had illness serious enough to be hospitalized.  Of 2634 patients who had reached an end point, death or discharge, 14% were treated in the ICU at some point and 12% needed mechanical ventilation.  21% died.  88% of those with ventilation died. Diabetes and hypertension were particularly prevalent in these hospitalized patients. Overall length of stay was 4.1 days.  Among this group with severe illness, mortality rates for younger people are very low.  For the 20 to 29 group it was 4%; for 30 to 39, 3.8%, for 40 to 49, 6.2%.   So if you take the rate of hospitalization of all reported cases and then of all cases, reported and unreported, these mortality rates are 100 times or more lower.  And if you are healthy, your risk of being hospitalized, and even more so of dying, are both miniscule.

So let’s stop scaring the hell out of people.

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