Latinos With Rheumatic Disease At An Increased Risk for COVID-19

Latino patients who have a rheumatic disease have a higher risk for COVID-19 compared to the general population of Latinos, according to a study.

“Latino patients are overrepresented among cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) and are at an increased risk for severe disease. Prevalence of COVID‐19 in Latinos with rheumatic diseases are poorly reported,” explained the study authors.

Latino patients with rheumatic diseases in the Washington, D.C., area who were seen between April 1 and Oct. 15, 2020, were retrospectively reviewed. The study authors collected demographics, body mass index (BMI), comorbidities, and immunomodulatory therapies. They performed an exploratory Classification and Regression Tree (CART) analysis with logistic regression (LR) analyses to determine what factors were predictive of COVID-19 and flare-ups of rheumatic disease.

A total of 178 patients were identified for the final analysis. Overall, 32 patients (18%) developed COVID-19. The rate of COVID-19 infection in Latino patients with rheumatic disease was three times as high as that of the general Latino population. None of the patients in the present study were admitted to the intensive care unit.

Upon CART analysis, a correlation was observed between BMI >30.35 kg/m2 and COVID-19 (odds ratio [OR], 3.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5-7.7; P=0.004). COVID-19 was found to be a risk factor for flare-up of rheumatic disease (OR, 4.57; 95% CI, 1.2-17.4; P=0.02).

The study was published in Arthritis & Rheumatology.

The researchers recommended that, “Latino patients with risk factors should be followed closely, especially post‐COVID‐19 in anticipation of disease flare.”

Previous studies have found that racial minorities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and not just those with rheumatic diseases.  A study published in Circulation concluded that “Black and Hispanic patients bore a greater burden of mortality and morbidity due to their disproportionate representation among COVID-19 hospitalizations.”