Study authors analyzed health records for nearly 4,000 COVID-19 patients and over 5,400 flu patients from the Veterans Health Administration and compared the complications for each.
"The percentage of COVID-19 patients who died while hospitalized (21.0%) was more than five times that of influenza [flu] patients (3.8%), and the duration of hospitalization was almost three times longer for COVID-19 patients,” the authors wrote. Also, the percentage of coronavirus patients who were sent to the intensive care unit more than doubled flu patients.
Further, they found that coronavirus patients were at a higher risk for 17 other complications, including respiratory and neurologic issues.
After adjusting for variables like age and comorbidities among coronavirus patients, those from minority groups had a higher risk of nine complications, including respiratory and neurologic issues.
“The higher risk for certain complications among racial and ethnic minority patients provides further evidence that certain racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionally affected by COVID-19 and that this disparity is not solely accounted for by age and underlying medical conditions,” authors wrote.
The coronavirus patients in the study were on average "slightly older" than the flu patients (70 vs. 69 years old, respectively), the study noted, but the flu patients had more underlying health issues.
The CDC said health care providers need to be diligent about looking for symptoms to improve patient mortality and lower long-term disability.