ANALYSIS: Those with chronic respiratory conditions under-represented in COVID-19 cases

Authors: Alexandra Freeman
Date added: 5th April 2020, 12:13:34

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It is striking that both diseases appear to be under-represented in the comorbidities reported for patients with COVID-19, compared with the global burden of disease estimates of the prevalence of these conditions in the general population (table); a similar pattern was seen with SARS. By contrast, the prevalence of diabetes in patients with COVID-19 or SARS is as high as or higher than the estimated national prevalence, as might be expected.

Number of 

patients

Health-care 

workers (%)

Mean or median age 

(years)

Prevalence (%)

Chronic 

respiratory 

disease

COPD

Asthma

Diabetes

Patients with COVID-19China12

44 672

3·8%

∼51

2·4%

··

··

5·3%

Wuhan, China13

140

··

57*

··

1·4%

··

12·1%

Patients with SARSToronto, Canada14

147

51%

45*

··

1·0%

··

11·0%

Taipei, Taiwan15

67

37%

51·0

6·0%

··

··

23·9%

Kaohsiung, Taiwan16

52

31%

48·1

··

10·0%

··

··

Hong Kong17

88

19%

42·1

··

0

1·0%

10·0%

Hong Kong18

112

61%

39·3

··

2·6%

··

4·5%

General population†China19

··

··

··

6·9%

4·9%

2·3%

6·6%

Canada19

··

··

··

10·4%

5·4%

5·4%

8·2%

Taiwan19

··

··

··

13·1%

10·4%

3·9%

10·6%

Hong Kong20

··

··

··

··

1·4%

1·9%

3·8%

Table references are listed in the appendix. COPD=chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COVID-19=coronavirus disease 2019. SARS=severe acute respiratory syndrome. 
*Median age. †Estimates for China, Canada, and Taiwan from the Global Burden of Disease Study; Hong Kong estimates from the Department of Health, Hong Kong Special 
Administrative Region Government.

Table: Prevalence of chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes in patients with COVID-19 and SARS

See Online for appendix

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