HealthDay News — Being hospitalized for COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk for death compared with hospitalization for seasonal influenza, according to a research letter published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Yan Xie, PhD, from the VA Saint Louis Health Care System, and colleagues used the US Department of Veterans Affairs electronic health databases (October 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023) to identify individuals with at least one hospital admission record from 2 days before to 10 days after a positive test result for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) or influenza and an admission diagnosis for COVID-19 or seasonal influenza, with follow-up through March 2, 2023.

The researchers identified 8996 hospitalizations (538 deaths within 30 days) for COVID-19 and 2403 hospitalizations (76 deaths) for seasonal influenza. At 30 days, the death rate was 5.9% for COVID-19 and 3.75% for influenza, yielding an excess death rate of 2.2%. Hospitalization for COVID-19 was associated with a higher risk for death than for influenza (hazard ratio, 1.61), although the risk for death decreased with the number of COVID-19 vaccinations.

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“This finding should be interpreted in the context of a 2 to 3 times greater number of people being hospitalized for COVID-19 vs influenza in the US in this period,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text