July 22, 2021

Influenza network sizes up COVID

Hospital data from a CDC network that monitors influenza revealed that adults hospitalized for COVID-19 in the early months of the pandemic were 20x more likely to die compared to hospitalized influenza patients.

Compared to adults hospitalized with influenza, adults hospitalized with COVID-19 during the initial months of the pandemic had 15 times the risk of admission to intensive care, 16 times the risk of being placed on a ventilator, and 20 times the risk of death during hospitalization. 

That’s according to a report in Clinical Infectious Diseases by H. Keipp Talbot, MD, MPH, and fellow investigators in the Hospitalized Adult Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network, or HAIVEN. 

The report is based on patients seen at 12 hospitals in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, including 914 COVID admissions prior to June 19, 2020, and 1,937 influenza admissions from 2016 to 2019. 

Compared to Black patients admitted with influenza, Blacks admitted with COVID were 59 times more likely to die in the hospital, while whites admitted with COVID were 17 times more likely to die in the hospital than whites admitted with influenza.

Talbot was joined by investigators from the University of MichiganTexas A&M Universitythe University of Pittsburghthe University of Tennessee, Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, Tenn., and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. The study was supported by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health (TR002243TR001857).