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- Severe COVID-19 cases can involve pneumonia-like symptoms and respiratory failure, requiring hospitalization.
- So far, more than 429,000 Americans have gotten the coronavirus.
- New research reveals that 90% of Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 in March had underlying health conditions.
- Americans older than 65 had the highest rate of hospitalization per capita.
- Connecticut and Michigan had the highest number of hospitalizations per capita.
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New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows which Americans have the highest rates of hospitalization related to COVID-19.
The report analyzed 1,482 hospitalizations across 99 counties in 14 US states. The results show that 90% of Americans admitted to hospitals with severe coronavirus cases had underlying health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. People older than 65 had the highest rate of hospitalization per capita.
These findings align with trends observed so far in the US and abroad: Fatality rates for older people are far higher than for younger ones, and people with preexisting health issues face a high risk of developing severe cases.
What's more, the CDC collected race and ethnicity data from one-third of these hospitalized cases. The data show that black Americans have higher hospitalization rates than would be expected for their share of the US population.
The report also broke down the data by geographical region. That analysis showed that of the 14 states included, Connecticut and Michigan had the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations per capita: about 15 and 12 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, respectively. That's nearly double the rates of New York, Tennessee, Maryland, and Georgia (which all have between 6 and 8 hospitalizations per 100,000 people), and more than seven times the hospitalizations per capita in Utah, Minnesota, California, and New Mexico.
What we know about the ages of hospitalized Americans
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While 80% of COVID-19 cases are considered mild — a broad term referring to patients who do not require hospitalization — severe cases can involve pneumonia-like symptoms and respiratory failure that necessitate a hospital stay.
The new CDC study analyzed hospitalization rates for patients admitted to US hospitals between March 1 and March 28. The 14 states included were: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah.
Of the nearly 1,500 patients in the study, 74.5% were older than 50, and 54.4% were male. Overall, the hospitalization rate among patients during the four-week period was 4.6 per 100,000 Americans.
Hospitalization rates per capita were highest among Americans older than 65: about 13.8 per 100,000 people.
"These findings suggest that older adults have elevated rates of COVID-19–associated hospitalization," the authors concluded.
An earlier report from the CDC found that of about 500 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 45% were people age 65 or older. A similar breakdown has been observed in New York City, which has the country's biggest coronavirus outbreak. The city has more than 81,000 cases, and more than 20,000 New Yorkers have been hospitalized. Of those, 44% have been people older than 65.
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90% of the US patients hospitalized had underlying conditions
The CDC report collected data about underlying health problems among 180 of the 1,482 hospitalized Americans. Of that subset, 89.3% had at least one underlying condition.
The most commonly reported were hypertension and obesity, followed by chronic lung disease (including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, and heart disease. Three hospitalized patients were pregnant.
Hospitalizations by race
The new report also analyzed race and ethnicity data from 580 patients. The authors found that 45% were white, 33% were black, 8% were Hispanic, and 6% were Asian. The remaining 8% were of an unknown ethnicity.
In a White House briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, addressed the fact that a disproportionate number of black Americans have been hospitalized and died because of the coronavirus.
The skew has to do with rates of "underlying medical conditions — the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma," Fauci said.
"Health disparities have always existed for the African American community," he added. "But here again, with the crisis, how it's shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is."
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