Experts are already expressing concerns over the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic, while some researchers have found that ICU admissions of obese patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have increased.
New research from NYU Langone Health has found that the ICU admissions have doubled for patients with class 1 obesity, meaning those who have a body mass index (BMI) between 30 and 34.
The researchers also found that patients with class 2-3 obesity, with a BMI of more than 35, have a great risk (3.6 times) than those with class 1 obesity.
Although obesity does not put people at risk of catching the novel coronavirus, they are more likely to have severe symptoms once they get infected by the virus.
Dr. Jennifer Lighter of NYU Langone Health and her colleagues looked at patient records of more than 3,600 patients affected by the new virus who came to the ER at NYU Langone. Of those patients, 21 percent had class 1 obesity and 16 percent had class 2-3 obesity.
They also found that 37 percent of the patients were hospitalized for regular acute care, while 12 percent of them were admitted into the ICU.
For patients with class 2-3 obesity, the risk was 2.2 times higher for acute care and 3.6 times higher for ICU admissions, the researchers noted.
Another study from France found similar results.
Dr. Arthur Simonnet and his colleagues studied more than 120 patients in a hospital ICU. They found that 69 percent of the coronavirus patients required mechanical ventilation and the need for ventilation increased with BMI – independent of age, diabetes, and hypertension.
Dr. Simonnet found that for patients with class 2-3 obesity, the odds for needing a ventilator were nearly seven times higher than those with class 1 obesity.
Some people have been skeptical, suggesting that these findings might be coincidental.
One person said, “70 percent of the people who blink in the UK are overweight or obese. Statements such as these, while technically accurate, are misleading and over-inflate the impact of high-weight status. We disagree, though we understand the point they’re making.”
Some speculate that obese people who have COVID-19 will be given less medical care.
However, that’s is not the case because people with obesity and COVID-19 are receiving more care in a hospital setting. And health workers providing that care have been putting themselves at risk to do so.
Globally, the novel coronavirus has affected more than 1,853,600 and killed over 114,270 people so far.
In the United States, health officials have reported more than 560,400 confirmed cases and over 22,100 deaths so far. The article originally published in conscienhealth.org.