Nov 12, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus comorbidities hit patients with developmental disorders hardest

Data: FAIR Health; Note: Ratio compares the mortality risk of a COVID-19 patient with a comorbidity to a patient with COVID-19 who does not have that comorbidity; Chart: Axios Visuals

Coronavirus patients with developmental disorders are the most at risk of dying, followed by those with lung cancer and intellectual disabilities, according to a new analysis by FAIR Health, in collaboration with the West Health Institute and Johns Hopkins' Marty Makary.

Why it matters: Information about who is most at risk for severe coronavirus infections could help determine who should be the first to a vaccine, or scarce treatments.

Yes, but: "There has always been some hesitancy to treat people with intellectual disabilities and people who are institutionalized as equal in terms of consideration for scarce medical resources," Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, told the New York Times.

  • "There will be some balking and battling, on grounds that I would consider discriminatory."

What they found: The overall mortality rate, determined by analyzing the claims of nearly half a million privately insured patients diagnosed with the virus, was -.59%.

  • As many other studies have found, men and older patients are at higher risk.
  • The vast majority of coronavirus patients who died — 83% — had a pre-existing condition. No children 18 or younger without a pre-existing condition died.

"We knew COVID mortality was skewed toward chronic conditions, but we didn't realized it was skewed this much," Makary said.

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