With the number of confirmed coronavirus cases now topping 4 million globally, the urgency to develop a vaccine has never been greater.
Now something that’s been witnessed throughout this pandemic is the way COVID-19 seems to hit some people harder than others. Whether a COVID-19 patient is hospitalized and requires more serious medical interventions, like ventilation, often depends on several risk factors.
In the United States, 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in patients aged 65 and older. The reason for this is thought to be because elderly individuals have more chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
A recent meta-analysis of 13 separate studies found that people with diabetes were nearly 3.7 times more likely to have a critical case of COVID-19 or to die from the disease than patients without any underlying health conditions.
Heart disease and hypertension
The American Heart Association says people with cardiovascular issues, including heart disease and hypertension, generally tend to suffer worse COVID-19 complications than those with no pre-existing conditions.
A study from China found that 12.3% of current smokers were admitted to an ICU, were placed on a ventilator or died. This compares to 4.7% of non-smokers.
Being obese has been linked to an increased severity of COVID-19 in younger patients. Furthermore, a separate study from China – which has not yet been peer-reviewed – found that obese individuals were more than twice as likely to develop severe pneumonia as compared with patients who were normal weight.