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      The 5% of the Population at High Risk for Severe COVID-19 Infection Is Identifiable and Needs to Be Taken Into Account When Reopening the Economy

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          Abstract

          The goal of this column is to help mental health care professionals understand coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) so that they can better explain the complexities of the current crisis to their patients. The bottom-line of this column is that, while COVID-19 can infect virtually everyone in the human population, only about 5% are susceptible to severe infection requiring admission to an intensive care unit and/or causing a fatal outcome and this population can be identified on the basis of comorbid medical illness and/or age. These numbers are based on experience in China, the United States, and Europe. Table 1 presents an analysis conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is further supported by several other sources reviewed in the article. The population at risk for severe infection are individuals with comorbid medical illness and those 85 years of age and older. The comorbid medical illnesses identified as risk factors are preexisting respiratory and cardiovascular disease, immunocompromised status, morbid obesity (ie, body mass index ≥40), diabetes mellitus, and possibly significant kidney or liver impairment. Parenthetically, news reports and the literature sometimes cite age 60 years and older as a risk factor but age between 60 and 85 years is likely a surrogate for having 1 or more of these comorbid medical conditions. While 5% may initially seem like a small number, it nevertheless potentially represents 16.5 million people, given the United States population of 330 million. That is a tremendous number of people requiring intensive care unit admission and/or potentially dying, and individuals in this population have overwhelmed the US health care system in some hotspots. For this reason, this column suggests taking this at-risk population into account in mitigation strategies when attempting to open the US economy. The column addresses the following questions: (1) What are the 3 aspects of the race to minimize the damage caused by COVID-19? (2) What data are currently available to help guide decisions to be made? (3) What strategies have been employed to date and how successful have they been? and (4) Might risk stratification of exposure be a viable strategy to minimize the damage caused by the virus? The race to minimize the damage caused by COVID-19 requires that we obtain knowledge about the disease and its treatment or prevention, how to best safeguard public health and avoid overwhelming the health care system, and how to minimize the societal damage caused by substantial disruption of the economy. Data gathered over the past 4 months since the COVID-19 virus emerged as a human pathogen have provided guidance for our decisions going forward. The most widely adopted strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic to date have involved the epidemiological approach of encouraging good hygiene practices and social distancing, including orders to “shelter in place,” quarantine of high-risk individuals, and isolation of infected individuals. The goal of this epidemiological approach has been to “flatten the curve” by reducing the height of the peak of the infection to avoid overwhelming the health care system and society in general, while buying time to learn more about the disease and find more effective ways to deal with it. However, now that more is known about COVID-19 and the portion of the population that is most at risk for serious adverse outcomes including death, it may be possible to move from a shelter-in-place approach for the entire population to focus on those at most risk and thus facilitate a gradual and rational phased reduction of social restrictions to reopen the economy. Such a graduated opening would be based on regions of countries meeting specific criteria in terms of being able to contain the virus, coupled with vigorous monitoring to look for outbreaks, followed by case monitoring, isolation of infected individuals and quarantine of exposed individuals, and increased use of testing for active disease as well as for immunity. Taking the data on high-risk individuals into account would allow for a gradual lifting of restrictions on the majority of the population while maintaining more stringent safeguards to protect the vulnerable portion of the population. Nevertheless, the entire population would need to continue to practice good hygiene and social distancing while simultaneously—and perhaps even more vigorously—focusing on sheltering the vulnerable population until adequate community immunity has been achieved to prevent the spread of the virus, whether that is accomplished through natural exposure alone or with the addition of safe and effective vaccine(s) which may not be available for a year. Continued widespread testing for antibodies will help determine how far or close this country is—and other countries are—from developing effective community immunity.

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          Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Patients Hospitalized with Laboratory-Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 — COVID-NET, 14 States, March 1–30, 2020

          Since SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), was first detected in December 2019 ( 1 ), approximately 1.3 million cases have been reported worldwide ( 2 ), including approximately 330,000 in the United States ( 3 ). To conduct population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19–associated hospitalizations in the United States, the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) was created using the existing infrastructure of the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) ( 4 ) and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RSV-NET). This report presents age-stratified COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates for patients admitted during March 1–28, 2020, and clinical data on patients admitted during March 1–30, 2020, the first month of U.S. surveillance. Among 1,482 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 74.5% were aged ≥50 years, and 54.4% were male. The hospitalization rate among patients identified through COVID-NET during this 4-week period was 4.6 per 100,000 population. Rates were highest (13.8) among adults aged ≥65 years. Among 178 (12%) adult patients with data on underlying conditions as of March 30, 2020, 89.3% had one or more underlying conditions; the most common were hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes mellitus (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). These findings suggest that older adults have elevated rates of COVID-19–associated hospitalization and the majority of persons hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying medical conditions. These findings underscore the importance of preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and wearing face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain) † to protect older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions, as well as the general public. In addition, older adults and persons with serious underlying medical conditions should avoid contact with persons who are ill and immediately contact their health care provider(s) if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html) ( 5 ). Ongoing monitoring of hospitalization rates, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of hospitalized patients will be important to better understand the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States and the clinical spectrum of disease, and to help guide planning and prioritization of health care system resources. COVID-NET conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19–associated hospitalizations among persons of all ages in 99 counties in 14 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah), distributed across all 10 U.S Department of Health and Human Services regions. § The catchment area represents approximately 10% of the U.S. population. Patients must be residents of a designated COVID-NET catchment area and hospitalized within 14 days of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test to meet the surveillance case definition. Testing is requested at the discretion of treating health care providers. Laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 is defined as a positive result by any test that has received Emergency Use Authorization for SARS-CoV-2 testing. ¶ COVID-NET surveillance officers in each state identify cases through active review of notifiable disease and laboratory databases and hospital admission and infection control practitioner logs. Weekly age-stratified hospitalization rates are estimated using the number of catchment area residents hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 as the numerator and National Center for Health Statistics vintage 2018 bridged-race postcensal population estimates for the denominator.** As of April 3, 2020, COVID-NET hospitalization rates are being published each week at https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/covidnet/COVID19_3.html. For each case, trained surveillance officers conduct medical chart abstractions using a standard case report form to collect data on patient characteristics, underlying medical conditions, clinical course, and outcomes. Chart reviews are finalized once patients have a discharge disposition. COVID-NET surveillance was initiated on March 23, 2020, with retrospective case identification of patients admitted during March 1–22, 2020, and prospective case identification during March 23–30, 2020. Clinical data on underlying conditions and symptoms at admission are presented through March 30; hospitalization rates are updated weekly and, therefore, are presented through March 28 (epidemiologic week 13). The COVID-19–associated hospitalization rate among patients identified through COVID-NET for the 4-week period ending March 28, 2020, was 4.6 per 100,000 population (Figure 1). Hospitalization rates increased with age, with a rate of 0.3 in persons aged 0–4 years, 0.1 in those aged 5–17 years, 2.5 in those aged 18–49 years, 7.4 in those aged 50–64 years, and 13.8 in those aged ≥65 years. Rates were highest among persons aged ≥65 years, ranging from 12.2 in those aged 65–74 years to 17.2 in those aged ≥85 years. More than half (805; 54.4%) of hospitalizations occurred among men; COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates were higher among males than among females (5.1 versus 4.1 per 100,000 population). Among the 1,482 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19–associated hospitalizations reported through COVID-NET, six (0.4%) each were patients aged 0–4 years and 5–17 years, 366 (24.7%) were aged 18–49 years, 461 (31.1%) were aged 50–64 years, and 643 (43.4%) were aged ≥65 years. Among patients with race/ethnicity data (580), 261 (45.0%) were non-Hispanic white (white), 192 (33.1%) were non-Hispanic black (black), 47 (8.1%) were Hispanic, 32 (5.5%) were Asian, two (0.3%) were American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 46 (7.9%) were of other or unknown race. Rates varied widely by COVID-NET surveillance site (Figure 2). FIGURE 1 Laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–associated hospitalization rates,* by age group — COVID-NET, 14 states, † March 1–28, 2020 Abbreviation: COVID-NET = Coronavirus Disease 2019–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network. * Number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 per 100,000 population. † Counties included in COVID-NET surveillance: California (Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties); Colorado (Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties); Connecticut (New Haven and Middlesex counties); Georgia (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale counties); Iowa (one county represented); Maryland (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester counties); Michigan (Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, and Washtenaw counties); Minnesota (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties); New Mexico (Bernalillo, Chaves, Dona Ana, Grant, Luna, San Juan, and Santa Fe counties); New York (Albany, Columbia, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Ontario, Orleans, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Wayne, and Yates counties); Ohio (Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway and Union counties); Oregon (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties); Tennessee (Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties); and Utah (Salt Lake County). The figure is a bar chart showing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates, by age group, in 14 states during March 1–28, 2020 according to the Coronavirus Disease 2019–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network. FIGURE 2 Laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–associated hospitalization rates,* by surveillance site † — COVID-NET, 14 states, March 1–28, 2020 Abbreviation: COVID-NET = Coronavirus Disease 2019–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network. * Number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 per 100,000 population. † Counties included in COVID-NET surveillance: California (Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties); Colorado (Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties); Connecticut (New Haven and Middlesex counties); Georgia (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale counties); Iowa (one county represented); Maryland (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester counties); Michigan (Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, and Washtenaw counties); Minnesota (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties); New Mexico (Bernalillo, Chaves, Dona Ana, Grant, Luna, San Juan, and Santa Fe counties); New York (Albany, Columbia, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Ontario, Orleans, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Wayne, and Yates counties); Ohio (Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway and Union counties); Oregon (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties); Tennessee (Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties); and Utah (Salt Lake County). The figure is a bar chart showing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates, by surveillance site, in 14 states during March 1–28, 2020 according to the Coronavirus Disease 2019–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network. During March 1–30, underlying medical conditions and symptoms at admission were reported through COVID-NET for approximately 180 (12.1%) hospitalized adults (Table); 89.3% had one or more underlying conditions. The most commonly reported were hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes mellitus (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). Among patients aged 18–49 years, obesity was the most prevalent underlying condition, followed by chronic lung disease (primarily asthma) and diabetes mellitus. Among patients aged 50–64 years, obesity was most prevalent, followed by hypertension and diabetes mellitus; and among those aged ≥65 years, hypertension was most prevalent, followed by cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. Among 33 females aged 15–49 years hospitalized with COVID-19, three (9.1%) were pregnant. Among 167 patients with available data, the median interval from symptom onset to admission was 7 days (interquartile range [IQR] = 3–9 days). The most common signs and symptoms at admission included cough (86.1%), fever or chills (85.0%), and shortness of breath (80.0%). Gastrointestinal symptoms were also common; 26.7% had diarrhea, and 24.4% had nausea or vomiting. TABLE Underlying conditions and symptoms among adults aged ≥18 years with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–associated hospitalizations — COVID-NET, 14 states,* March 1–30, 2020† Underlying condition Age group (yrs), no./total no. (%) Overall 18–49 50–64 ≥65 years Any underlying condition 159/178 (89.3) 41/48 (85.4) 51/59 (86.4) 67/71 (94.4) Hypertension 79/159 (49.7) 7/40 (17.5) 27/57 (47.4) 45/62 (72.6) Obesity§ 73/151 (48.3) 23/39 (59.0) 25/51 (49.0) 25/61 (41.0) Chronic metabolic disease¶ 60/166 (36.1) 10/46 (21.7) 21/56 (37.5) 29/64 (45.3)    Diabetes mellitus 47/166 (28.3) 9/46 (19.6) 18/56 (32.1) 20/64 (31.3) Chronic lung disease 55/159 (34.6) 16/44 (36.4) 15/53 (28.3) 24/62 (38.7)    Asthma 27/159 (17.0) 12/44 (27.3) 7/53 (13.2) 8/62 (12.9)    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 17/159 (10.7) 0/44 (0.0) 3/53 (5.7) 14/62 (22.6) Cardiovascular disease** 45/162 (27.8) 2/43 (4.7) 11/56 (19.6) 32/63 (50.8)    Coronary artery disease 23/162 (14.2) 0/43 (0.0) 7/56 (12.5) 16/63 (25.4)    Congestive heart failure 11/162 (6.8) 2/43 (4.7) 3/56 (5.4) 6/63 (9.5) Neurologic disease 22/157 (14.0) 4/42 (9.5) 4/55 (7.3) 14/60 (23.3) Renal disease 20/153 (13.1) 3/41 (7.3) 2/53 (3.8) 15/59 (25.4) Immunosuppressive condition 15/156 (9.6) 5/43 (11.6) 4/54 (7.4) 6/59 (10.2) Gastrointestinal/Liver disease 10/152 (6.6) 4/42 (9.5) 0/54 (0.0) 6/56 (10.7) Blood disorder 9/156 (5.8) 1/43 (2.3) 1/55 (1.8) 7/58 (12.1) Rheumatologic/Autoimmune disease 3/154 (1.9) 1/42 (2.4) 0/54 (0.0) 2/58 (3.4) Pregnancy†† 3/33 (9.1) 3/33 (9.1) N/A N/A Symptom §§ Cough 155/180 (86.1) 43/47 (91.5) 54/60 (90.0) 58/73 (79.5) Fever/Chills 153/180 (85.0) 38/47 (80.9) 53/60 (88.3) 62/73 (84.9) Shortness of breath 144/180 (80.0) 40/47 (85.1) 50/60 (83.3) 54/73 (74.0) Myalgia 62/180 (34.4) 20/47 (42.6) 23/60 (38.3) 19/73 (26.0) Diarrhea 48/180 (26.7) 10/47 (21.3) 17/60 (28.3) 21/73 (28.8) Nausea/Vomiting 44/180 (24.4) 12/47 (25.5) 17/60 (28.3) 15/73 (20.5) Sore throat 32/180 (17.8) 8/47 (17.0) 13/60 (21.7) 11/73 (15.1) Headache 29/180 (16.1) 10/47 (21.3) 12/60 (20.0) 7/73 (9.6) Nasal congestion/Rhinorrhea 29/180 (16.1) 8/47 (17.0) 13/60 (21.7) 8/73 (11.0) Chest pain 27/180 (15.0) 9/47 (19.1) 13/60 (21.7) 5/73 (6.8) Abdominal pain 15/180 (8.3) 6/47 (12.8) 6/60 (10.0) 3/73 (4.1) Wheezing 12/180 (6.7) 3/47 (6.4) 2/60 (3.3) 7/73 (9.6) Altered mental status/Confusion 11/180 (6.1) 3/47 (6.4) 2/60 (3.3) 6/73 (8.2) Abbreviations: COVID-NET = Coronavirus Disease 2019–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network; N/A = not applicable. * Counties included in COVID-NET surveillance: California (Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties); Colorado (Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties); Connecticut (New Haven and Middlesex counties); Georgia (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale counties); Iowa (one county represented); Maryland (Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico, and Worcester counties); Michigan (Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, and Washtenaw counties); Minnesota (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties); New Mexico (Bernalillo, Chaves, Dona Ana, Grant, Luna, San Juan, and Santa Fe counties); New York (Albany, Columbia, Genesee, Greene, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Ontario, Orleans, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Wayne, and Yates counties); Ohio (Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway and Union counties); Oregon (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties); Tennessee (Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties); and Utah (Salt Lake County). † COVID-NET included data for one child aged 5–17 years with underlying medical conditions and symptoms at admission; data for this child are not included in this table. This child was reported to have chronic lung disease (asthma). Symptoms included fever, cough, gastrointestinal symptoms, shortness of breath, chest pain, and a sore throat on admission. § Obesity is defined as calculated body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2, and if BMI is missing, by International Classification of Diseases discharge diagnosis codes. Among 73 patients with obesity, 51 (69.9%) had obesity defined as BMI 30–<40 kg/m2, and 22 (30.1%) had severe obesity defined as BMI ≥40 kg/m2. ¶ Among the 60 patients with chronic metabolic disease, 45 had diabetes mellitus only, 13 had thyroid dysfunction only, and two had diabetes mellitus and thyroid dysfunction. ** Cardiovascular disease excludes hypertension. †† Restricted to women aged 15–49 years. §§ Symptoms were collected through review of admission history and physical exam notes in the medical record and might be determined by subjective or objective findings. In addition to the symptoms in the table, the following less commonly reported symptoms were also noted for adults with information on symptoms (180): hemoptysis/bloody sputum (2.2%), rash (1.1%), conjunctivitis (0.6%), and seizure (0.6%). Discussion During March 1–28, 2020, the overall laboratory-confirmed COVID-19–associated hospitalization rate was 4.6 per 100,000 population; rates increased with age, with the highest rates among adults aged ≥65 years. Approximately 90% of hospitalized patients identified through COVID-NET had one or more underlying conditions, the most common being obesity, hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease. Using the existing infrastructure of two respiratory virus surveillance platforms, COVID-NET was implemented to produce robust, weekly, age-stratified hospitalization rates using standardized data collection methods. These data are being used, along with data from other surveillance platforms (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview.html), to monitor COVID-19 disease activity and severity in the United States. During the first month of surveillance, COVID-NET hospitalization rates ranged from 0.1 per 100,000 population in persons aged 5–17 years to 17.2 per 100,000 population in adults aged ≥85 years, whereas cumulative influenza hospitalization rates during the first 4 weeks of each influenza season (epidemiologic weeks 40–43) over the past 5 seasons have ranged from 0.1 in persons aged 5–17 years to 2.2–5.4 in adults aged ≥85 years ( 6 ). COVID-NET rates during this first 4-week period of surveillance are preliminary and should be interpreted with caution; given the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates are expected to increase as additional cases are identified and as SARS-CoV-2 testing capacity in the United States increases. In the COVID-NET catchment population, approximately 49% of residents are male and 51% of residents are female, whereas 54% of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations occurred in males and 46% occurred in females. These data suggest that males may be disproportionately affected by COVID-19 compared with females. Similarly, in the COVID-NET catchment population, approximately 59% of residents are white, 18% are black, and 14% are Hispanic; however, among 580 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with race/ethnicity data, approximately 45% were white, 33% were black, and 8% were Hispanic, suggesting that black populations might be disproportionately affected by COVID-19. These findings, including the potential impact of both sex and race on COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates, need to be confirmed with additional data. Most of the hospitalized patients had underlying conditions, some of which are recognized to be associated with severe COVID-19 disease, including chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus ( 5 ). COVID-NET does not collect data on nonhospitalized patients; thus, it was not possible to compare the prevalence of underlying conditions in hospitalized versus nonhospitalized patients. Many of the documented underlying conditions among hospitalized COVID-19 patients are highly prevalent in the United States. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, hypertension prevalence among U.S. adults is 29% overall, ranging from 7.5%–63% across age groups ( 7 ), and age-adjusted obesity prevalence is 42% (range across age groups = 40%–43%) ( 8 ). Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, hypertension prevalence was 50% (range across age groups = 18%–73%), and obesity prevalence was 48% (range across age groups = 41%–59%). In addition, the prevalences of several underlying conditions identified through COVID-NET were similar to those for hospitalized influenza patients identified through FluSurv-NET during influenza seasons 2014–15 through 2018–19: 41%–51% of patients had cardiovascular disease (excluding hypertension), 39%–45% had chronic metabolic disease, 33%–40% had obesity, and 29%–31% had chronic lung disease ( 6 ). Data on hypertension are not collected by FluSurv-NET. Among women aged 15–49 years hospitalized with COVID-19 and identified through COVID-NET, 9% were pregnant, which is similar to an estimated 9.9% of the general population of women aged 15–44 years who are pregnant at any given time based on 2010 data. †† Similar to other reports from the United States ( 9 ) and China ( 1 ), these findings indicate that a high proportion of U.S. patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are older and have underlying medical conditions. The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, hospitalization rates by age and COVID-NET site are preliminary and might change as additional cases are identified from this surveillance period. Second, whereas minimum case data to produce weekly age-stratified hospitalization rates are usually available within 7 days of case identification, availability of detailed clinical data are delayed because of the need for medical chart abstractions. As of March 30, chart abstractions had been conducted for approximately 200 COVID-19 patients; the frequency and distribution of underlying conditions during this time might change as additional data become available. Clinical course and outcomes will be presented once the number of cases with complete medical chart abstractions are sufficient; many patients are still hospitalized at the time of this report. Finally, testing for SARS-CoV-2 among patients identified through COVID-NET is performed at the discretion of treating health care providers, and testing practices and capabilities might vary widely across providers and facilities. As a result, underascertainment of cases in COVID-NET is likely. Additional data on testing practices related to SARS-CoV-2 will be collected in the future to account for underascertainment using described methods ( 10 ). Early data from COVID-NET suggest that COVID-19–associated hospitalizations in the United States are highest among older adults, and nearly 90% of persons hospitalized have one or more underlying medical conditions. These findings underscore the importance of preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and wearing face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain) to protect older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions. Ongoing monitoring of hospitalization rates, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of hospitalized patients will be important to better understand the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States and the clinical spectrum of disease, and to help guide planning and prioritization of health care system resources. Summary What is already known about this topic? Population-based rates of laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–associated hospitalizations are lacking in the United States. What is added by this report? COVID-NET was implemented to produce robust, weekly, age-stratified COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates. Hospitalization rates increase with age and are highest among older adults; the majority of hospitalized patients have underlying conditions. What are the implications for public health practice? Strategies to prevent COVID-19, including social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, are particularly important to protect older adults and those with underlying conditions. Ongoing monitoring of hospitalization rates is critical to understanding the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States and to guide planning and prioritization of health care resources.
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            Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020

            On March 18, 2020, this report was posted online as an MMWR Early Release. Globally, approximately 170,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) have been reported, including an estimated 7,000 deaths in approximately 150 countries ( 1 ). On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic ( 2 ). Data from China have indicated that older adults, particularly those with serious underlying health conditions, are at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated illness and death than are younger persons ( 3 ). Although the majority of reported COVID-19 cases in China were mild (81%), approximately 80% of deaths occurred among adults aged ≥60 years; only one (0.1%) death occurred in a person aged ≤19 years ( 3 ). In this report, COVID-19 cases in the United States that occurred during February 12–March 16, 2020 and severity of disease (hospitalization, admission to intensive care unit [ICU], and death) were analyzed by age group. As of March 16, a total of 4,226 COVID-19 cases in the United States had been reported to CDC, with multiple cases reported among older adults living in long-term care facilities ( 4 ). Overall, 31% of cases, 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions, and 80% of deaths associated with COVID-19 were among adults aged ≥65 years with the highest percentage of severe outcomes among persons aged ≥85 years. In contrast, no ICU admissions or deaths were reported among persons aged ≤19 years. Similar to reports from other countries, this finding suggests that the risk for serious disease and death from COVID-19 is higher in older age groups. Data from cases reported from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories ( 5 ) to CDC during February 12–March 16 were analyzed. Cases among persons repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China and from Japan (including patients repatriated from cruise ships) were excluded. States and jurisdictions voluntarily reported data on laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 using previously developed data collection forms ( 6 ). The cases described in this report include both COVID-19 cases confirmed by state or local public health laboratories as well as those with a positive test at the state or local public health laboratories and confirmation at CDC. No data on serious underlying health conditions were available. Data on these cases are preliminary and are missing for some key characteristics of interest, including hospitalization status (1,514), ICU admission (2,253), death (2,001), and age (386). Because of these missing data, the percentages of hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths (case-fatality percentages) were estimated as a range. The lower bound of these percentages was estimated by using all cases within each age group as denominators. The corresponding upper bound of these percentages was estimated by using only cases with known information on each outcome as denominators. As of March 16, a total of 4,226 COVID-19 cases had been reported in the United States, with reports increasing to 500 or more cases per day beginning March 14 (Figure 1). Among 2,449 patients with known age, 6% were aged ≥85, 25% were aged 65–84 years, 18% each were aged 55–64 years and 45–54 years, and 29% were aged 20–44 years (Figure 2). Only 5% of cases occurred in persons aged 0–19 years. FIGURE 1 Number of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases reported daily*,† (N = 4,226) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020 * Includes both COVID-19 cases confirmed by state or local public health laboratories, as well as those testing positive at the state or local public health laboratories and confirmed at CDC. † Cases identified before February 28 were aggregated and reported during March 1–3. The figure is a histogram, an epidemiologic curve showing 4,226 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, by date of case report, in the United States during February 12–March 16, 2020. Figure 2 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalizations,* intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, † and deaths, § by age group — United States, February 12– March 16, 2020 * Hospitalization status missing or unknown for 1,514 cases. † ICU status missing or unknown for 2,253 cases. § Illness outcome or death missing or unknown for 2,001 cases. The figure is a bar chart showing the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalizations, intensive care unit admissions, and deaths, by age group, in the United States during February 12– March 16, 2020. Among 508 (12%) patients known to have been hospitalized, 9% were aged ≥85 years, 36% were aged 65–84 years, 17% were aged 55–64 years, 18% were 45–54 years, and 20% were aged 20–44 years. Less than 1% of hospitalizations were among persons aged ≤19 years (Figure 2). The percentage of persons hospitalized increased with age, from 2%–3% among persons aged ≤19 years, to ≥31% among adults aged ≥85 years. (Table). TABLE Hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and case–fatality percentages for reported COVID–19 cases, by age group —United States, February 12–March 16, 2020 Age group (yrs) (no. of cases) %* Hospitalization ICU admission Case-fatality 0–19 (123) 1.6–2.5 0 0 20–44 (705) 14.3–20.8 2.0–4.2 0.1–0.2 45–54 (429) 21.2–28.3 5.4–10.4 0.5–0.8 55–64 (429) 20.5–30.1 4.7–11.2 1.4–2.6 65–74 (409) 28.6–43.5 8.1–18.8 2.7–4.9 75–84 (210) 30.5–58.7 10.5–31.0 4.3–10.5 ≥85 (144) 31.3–70.3 6.3–29.0 10.4–27.3 Total (2,449) 20.7–31.4 4.9–11.5 1.8–3.4 * Lower bound of range = number of persons hospitalized, admitted to ICU, or who died among total in age group; upper bound of range = number of persons hospitalized, admitted to ICU, or who died among total in age group with known hospitalization status, ICU admission status, or death. Among 121 patients known to have been admitted to an ICU, 7% of cases were reported among adults ≥85 years, 46% among adults aged 65–84 years, 36% among adults aged 45–64 years, and 12% among adults aged 20–44 years (Figure 2). No ICU admissions were reported among persons aged ≤19 years. Percentages of ICU admissions were lowest among adults aged 20–44 years (2%–4%) and highest among adults aged 75–84 years (11%–31%) (Table). Among 44 cases with known outcome, 15 (34%) deaths were reported among adults aged ≥85 years, 20 (46%) among adults aged 65–84 years, and nine (20%) among adults aged 20–64 years. Case-fatality percentages increased with increasing age, from no deaths reported among persons aged ≤19 years to highest percentages (10%–27%) among adults aged ≥85 years (Table) (Figure 2). Discussion Since February 12, 4,226 COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States; 31% of cases, 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions, and 80% of deaths occurred among adults aged ≥65 years with the highest percentage of severe outcomes among persons aged ≥85 years. These findings are similar to data from China, which indicated >80% of deaths occurred among persons aged ≥60 years ( 3 ). These preliminary data also demonstrate that severe illness leading to hospitalization, including ICU admission and death, can occur in adults of any age with COVID-19. In contrast, persons aged ≤19 years appear to have milder COVID-19 illness, with almost no hospitalizations or deaths reported to date in the United States in this age group. Given the spread of COVID-19 in many U.S. communities, CDC continues to update current recommendations and develop new resources and guidance, including for adults aged ≥65 years as well as those involved in their care ( 7 , 8 ). Approximately 49 million U.S. persons are aged ≥65 years ( 9 ), and many of these adults, who are at risk for severe COVID-19–associated illness, might depend on services and support to maintain their health and independence. To prepare for potential COVID-19 illness among persons at high risk, family members and caregivers of older adults should know what medications they are taking and ensure that food and required medical supplies are available. Long-term care facilities should be particularly vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 ( 10 ). In addition, clinicians who care for adults should be aware that COVID-19 can result in severe disease among persons of all ages. Persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should monitor their symptoms and call their provider for guidance if symptoms worsen or seek emergency care for persistent severe symptoms. Additional guidance is available for health care providers on CDC’s website (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/index.html). This report describes the current epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States, using preliminary data. The findings in this report are subject to at least five limitations. First, data were missing for key variables of interest. Data on age and outcomes, including hospitalization, ICU admission, and death, were missing for 9%–53% of cases, which likely resulted in an underestimation of these outcomes. Second, further time for follow-up is needed to ascertain outcomes among active cases. Third, the initial approach to testing was to identify patients among those with travel histories or persons with more severe disease, and these data might overestimate the prevalence of severe disease. Fourth, data on other risk factors, including serious underlying health conditions that could increase risk for complications and severe illness, were unavailable at the time of this analysis. Finally, limited testing to date underscores the importance of ongoing surveillance of COVID-19 cases. Additional investigation will increase the understanding about persons who are at risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 and inform clinical guidance and community-based mitigation measures.* The risk for serious disease and death in COVID-19 cases among persons in the United States increases with age. Social distancing is recommended for all ages to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health care system, and help protect vulnerable older adults. Further, older adults should maintain adequate supplies of nonperishable foods and at least a 30-day supply of necessary medications, take precautions to keep space between themselves and others, stay away from those who are sick, avoid crowds as much as possible, avoid cruise travel and nonessential air travel, and stay home as much as possible to further reduce the risk of being exposed ( 7 ). Persons of all ages and communities can take actions to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect older adults. † Summary What is already known about this topic? Early data from China suggest that a majority of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) deaths have occurred among adults aged ≥60 years and among persons with serious underlying health conditions. What is added by this report? This first preliminary description of outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States indicates that fatality was highest in persons aged ≥85, ranging from 10% to 27%, followed by 3% to 11% among persons aged 65–84 years, 1% to 3% among persons aged 55-64 years, <1% among persons aged 20–54 years, and no fatalities among persons aged ≤19 years. What are the implications for public health practice? COVID-19 can result in severe disease, including hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit, and death, especially among older adults. Everyone can take actions, such as social distancing, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect older adults from severe illness.
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              Mental Health Care Providers Dealing With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): What Is the Definition of a Case, How Is That Changing, and What Kinds of Tests Are Available?

              The goal of this column is to inform mental health care professionals about the evolving way the diagnosis of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is being made, with emphasis on tests to assist in making the diagnosis and to determine the presence of antibodies to the virus. This column also provides some general information about the disease, its relative risks, and efforts to develop effective treatments. Links to credible websites that are being continuously updated are also provided for readers who want more information and to stay current with ongoing developments.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                PRA
                Journal of Psychiatric Practice
                1528-1145
                15 May 2020
                : 26
                Affiliations
                PRESKORN: The University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Wichita, KS
                Author notes
                Please send correspondence to: Sheldon H. Preskorn, MD, The University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, 1010 N. Kansas, Wichita, KS 67217.
                Article
                10.1097/PRA.0000000000000475
                7363378
                32421292
                Copyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

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