For months, scientists have been monitoring incident and death data to understand how COVID 19 manifests, and what the characteristics of the victims are.
One of the largest studies of COVID 19 in the United States found that obesity in patients is the only factor in whether patients with COVID 19 should be admitted to hospital.
"Chronic disease with the strongest association with critical illness was obesity, with a substantially higher probability of any cardiovascular or pulmonary disease," wrote study lead author Christopher M. Petrilli of the NYU Grossman School and colleagues at "Factors associated with hospitalization and critical illness among 4,103 patients with Covid-19 disease in New York City, published April 11th.
The paper has not yet been evaluated by other scientists, which should be taken into account when considering its findings.
Petrilli, his colleagues at NYU Grossman School and doctors at NYU Langone Health Center studied the electronic records of 4.103 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 from March 1st to April 2nd.
Researchers looking at New York cases divide COVID 19 patients into groups based on distinctive features, such as obesity, to create a "decision tree" for statistical analysis.
Half of these patients had been admitted to hospital. What the researchers found was that "In the import decision tree, the most important characteristics were age, and obesity."
Obesity, in this case, was measured as a weight relative to a person's height. Thus a body mass index of 30 kg and above characterizes an obese person.
Writing in The Lancet on March 31, RNA researcher Gregory Poland, summed up the deteriorating conditions of COVID 19 worldwide:
"We have a growing demographic age in almost all countries, very high rates of obesity, smokers, diabetics, heart disease and lung disease that all together as comorbidities lead to significantly higher risks of illness and death from the disease. coronai 2019 (COVID-19). "
Dr. David S. Ludwig and Richard Malley of Boston Children's Hospital wrote in The New York Times on March 30:
"The huge issue of obesity and other chronic illnesses among Americans puts most of us at immediate risk. "In fact, obesity rates in the United States are much higher than in other affected countries, such as South Korea and China."
Obesity is generally known to be associated with some inflammation. As the NYU authors note, "Obesity is well recognized as a pre-inflammatory condition." So they focus on the inflammatory aspect because it has been reported in several studies that it is a possible factor in the spread of COVID-19.
Given the scale of the New York epidemic (the city had 98.715 confirmed cases as of April 12 and 6.367 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins), the city offers a huge scope for research.