High BMI linked to COVID-19 severity in African Americans


ISLAMABAD, APRIL 13 (online): New research has identified some common factors associated with severe cases of COVID-19 in African American people, including a high body mass index (BMI)
While all people have a risk of contracting the infection and developing the disease, this risk is not equally distributed.
“Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.”
Various studies and reviews have demonstrated this disproportionate impact. The articles consistently point to an association between ethnicity and race and COVID-19 severity, highlighting that the disease and our approach to it must be understood in socioeconomic, as well as biological, terms.
“Racism, segregation, and inequality, which have been for decades invisibly and pervasively embedded in dominant cultures and social institutions, now emerge as a monumental COVID-19 challenge.”
The analysis included African American patients with confirmed COVID-19 who presented to an academic hospital between March 12 and April 9, 2020. In total, the study included 158 participants, 61% of whom were women. The participants’ average age was 57.
The study recorded whether the patients had required treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU), using this to define whether they had experienced severe COVID-19. The participants’ general health was identified retrospectively, by looking at their medical records.
Among the patients with severe COVID-19, 85% required intubation and mechanical ventilation due to respiratory failure.

In total, 37% of the patients receiving ICU care died. However, the actual figure may be higher, as more than one-fifth of the patients were still receiving ventilation in the ICU when the analysis took place.