History of Cancer Among Risk Factors for Severe Reaction to COVID-19

Researchers have identified that people with chronic conditions, including cancer, appear to be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, according to a preliminary report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report indicated that 78% of U.S. patients with COVID-19 who required admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) had at least one underlying condition, and 94% of hospitalized patients who died had an underlying condition.

The analysis is based on data from about 7,000 U.S. cases and about 200 deaths. The CDC researchers also noted that these findings are consistent with data coming out of China and Italy, other countries hit hard by the coronavirus.

Chronic conditions associated with severe COVID-19 sickness

Among patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to the ICU, 32% had diabetes, 29% had heart disease, and 21% had chronic lung disease (including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema), as well as 37% with other chronic conditions, including hypertension and a history of cancer.

“The analysis was limited by small numbers and missing data because of the burden placed on reporting health departments with rapidly rising case counts,” the researchers noted.