Nearly All of the Italians Who Have Died From #Coronavirus #COVID19 Had Pre-Existing Conditions

Artist’s rendition of Coronavirus

Bloomberg has a March 18, 2020, article on the Italian deaths from Coronavirus, aka COVID-19. From the article:

More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority.

After deaths from the virus reached more than 2,500, with a 150% increase in the past week, health authorities have been combing through data to provide clues to help combat the spread of the disease.

The Italian national health authority has reviewed medical records of 18% of those who have died, hoping to find out why the Italian mortality rate is so high.

Interesting factoids from the Italian experience:

  • median age of those infected was 63 (overall, or just those hospitalized?)
  • all the deceased victims under 40 were males with serious underlying conditions
  • nearly 1/2 of the deceased had three or more pre-existing conditions
  • one quarter of the deceased had two other pre-existing illnesses
  • one quarter of the deceased had one other pre-existing illnesses
  • average age of the deceased was 79.5

I don’t have details of the pre-existing conditions except: “More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease.”

Click for my list of underlying conditions that increase the risk of death from COVID-19  and what you should do if they apply to you.

I still don’t understand how a prior diagnosis of hypertension increases risk of death. Maybe it doesn’t. It could just be a statistical marker. As they say, correlation is not causation. Or many folks with hypertension actually have underlying hypertensive heart disease. Or drugs that treat hypertension impair the immune system’s defense against the virus.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Steve Parker MD, Advanced Mediterranean Diet

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