NYU Scientists Discover ‘Single Biggest’ Factor is Virus Hospitalizations


As we race toward answers in our fight against COVID-19, doctors and scientists are working our every possible factor in what makes this strain of coronavirus so terrifying.

You see, the virus itself doesn’t seem to have a remarkably high mortality rate, although one could argue that the point here is to have no mortality rate.  The issue with COVID-19 is how indiscriminately it spreads, while affecting seemingly similar people in vast and varying degrees of severity.

There are some underlying conditions that have been shown to affect how a person’s body handles COVID-19, and two of those situations in particular is now the subject of intense scrutiny.

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“The chronic condition with the strongest association with critical illness was obesity, with a substantially higher odds ratio than any cardiovascular or pulmonary disease,” write lead author Christopher M. Petrilli of the NYU Grossman School and colleagues in a paper, “Factors associated with hospitalization and critical illness among 4,103 patients with Covid-19 disease in New York City,” which was posted April 11th on the medRxiv pre-print server. The paper has not been peer-reviewed, which should be kept in mind in considering its conclusions.

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Among other things, the presence of obesity in the study points to a potentially important role of heightened inflammation in patients, a phenomenon that has been a topic of much speculation in numerous studies of the disease.

And this was no rinky-dink survey.

Petrilli and colleagues at the Grossman School, and doctors at the NYU Langone Health center, studied the electronic patient records of 4,103 individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 in the New York City healthcare system between March 1st and April 2nd.

It is “the largest case series from the United States to date,” write Petrilli and colleagues.

As it turned out, the two most prevalent underlying conditions of patients requiring hospitalization for COVID-19 were obesity and age.

This information could lead doctors to discover what makes COVID-19 so deadly, and thusly find new ways to treat patients who have contracted the illness.

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