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COVID-19 complication rates far higher than for flu

Complication rates are higher with severe COVID-19 than with severe flu, according to a new study.

Researchers compared 3,948 adults hospitalized for COVID-19 with 5,453 hospitalized in previous years with influenza.

The flu patients had higher rates of underlying medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Even so, COVID-19 patients had a more than five times higher rate of death and about double the need for intensive care unit admission and number of days in the hospital.

They also had higher rates of 17 different complications including those involving the lungs, blood, heart, blood vessels, nervous system, kidneys and liver.

The study, published on Tuesday in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also found that the risk for COVID-19 complications was higher among Blacks, Hispanics and other non-white patients, even after taking age and underlying medical conditions into consideration.

These disparities “provide further evidence that racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionally affected by COVID-19,” the researchers said.

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