Background African-Americans/Blacks have suffered higher morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 than all other racial groups. This study aims to identify the causes of this health disparity, determine prognostic indicators, and assess efficacy of treatment interventions. Method We performed a retrospective cohort study of clinical features and laboratory data of COVID-19 patients admitted over a five-week period at the height of the pandemic in the United States. This study was performed at an urban academic medical center in New York City, declared a COVID-only facility, serving a majority Black population Result Of the 1,070 consecutive patients who tested positive for COVID-19, 496 critically ill patients were hospitalized and included in the study. 88% of patients were Black; and a majority (53%) were 61-80 years old with a mean body mass index in the ‘obese’ range. 97% had one or more comorbidities. Hypertension was the most common (84%) pre-existing condition followed by diabetes mellitus (57%) and chronic kidney disease (24%). Patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease who received hemodialysis were found to have significantly lower mortality, then those who did not receive it, suggesting benefit from hemodialysis (11%, OR, 0.35, CI, 0.17 – 0.69 P=0.001). Age >60 years and coronary artery disease were independent predictors of mortality in multivariate analysis. Cox Proportional Hazards modeling for time to death demonstrated a significantly high ratio for COPD/Asthma, and favorable effects on outcomes for pre-admission ACE inhibitors and ARBs. CRP (180, 283 mg/L), LDH (551, 638 U/L), glucose (182, 163 mg/dL), procalcitonin (1.03, 1.68 ng/mL), and neutrophil / lymphocyte ratio (8.5, 10.0) were predictive of mortality on admission and at 48-96 hrs. Of the 496 inpatients, 48% died, one third of patients died within the first three days of admission. 54/488 patients received invasive mechanical ventilation, of which 87% died and of the remaining patients, 32% died. CONCLUSIONS COVID-19 patients in our predominantly Black neighborhood had higher mortality, likely due to higher prevalence of comorbidities. Early dialysis and pre-admission intake of ACE inhibitors/ARBs improved patient outcomes. Early escalation of care based on comorbidities and key laboratory indicators is critical for improving outcomes in African-American patients.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv