Study finds COVID patients with underlying issues 12 times more likely to die 

New data from the Centers for Disease Control shows just how severely COVID-19 affects people with underlying health conditions, making them much more likely to end up in the hospital or die from the virus. 

On Monday, the CDC released a study of COVID patients from January through the end of May, and the report found that patients with underlying health conditions land in the hospital six times more and die from the virus 12 times more than others.

“We knew that those patients weren’t doing as well, but now we’ve put some numbers to that information,” said Dr. Doug Ross, the chief medical officer at AdventHealth Tampa.

Dr. Ross said people with diabetes, heart problems, lung disease or other health conditions already have bodies that are working extra hard. That made them more susceptible to the virus in the first place, doctors said.

“Any stress, further stress on the body creates a compromise of the person to be able to tolerate the effects of the virus,” said Ross.

Dr. Jay Wolfson with USF Health said testing data remains critical to understanding why some are so severely affected and others spared. 

“The asymptomatic rate is very high. Younger people are being effected, the 15 to 30 age group is now the fastest group age group of those reporting the disease,” said Wolfson.

The CDC report also showed some public health implications, including the need for continued testing and surveillance data.

“Hospitals have been essentially going through fire drills, and they now are pretty good at knowing what they need to do to pivot their hospital wards and general care wards into isolation wards,” said Wolfson.

As more research comes out, doctors say they will keep paying attention.

“We’re just being prepared and trying not to be surprised by keeping up with all the latest information, so that we take great care of our patients,” said Ross.

Doctors said the same safety guidelines everyone is familiar with, mask wearing, social distancing and washing hands, are even more important now given the CDC’s reported trends.