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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.