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Canadian Study Confirms COVID-19 More Serious Than Influenza

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2021 -- Admission to the hospital for COVID-19 through June 30, 2020, was associated with greater mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) use, and hospital length of stay compared with influenza, according to a study published online Feb. 10 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Amol A. Verma, M.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues describe all adults with COVID-19 or influenza discharged from inpatient medical services and ICUs between Nov. 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. The accuracy of seven externally developed risk scores for predicting mortality among patients with COVID-19 was validated.

The researchers identified 1,027 hospital admissions with COVID-19 and 783 with influenza. Overall, patients younger than 50 years accounted for 21.2 and 24.0 percent of all COVID-19 admissions and ICU admissions, respectively. Patients with COVID-19 had significantly greater in-hospital mortality, ICU use, and hospital length of stay compared with influenza (adjusted relative risks, 3.46, 1.50, and 1.45, respectively). No significant difference was seen in 30-day readmission. Good discrimination and calibration were seen for three points-based risk scores for predicting in-hospital mortality (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve range, 0.72 to 0.81).

"Hopefully, the severity of COVID-19 will decrease over time as people are vaccinated against the virus and more effective treatments are identified," Verma said in a statement. "There is, unfortunately, also the possibility that variants of the virus could be even more severe."

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Posted: February 2021

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