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COVID-19 is much more deadly than bacterial or viral pneumonia, doubling the mortality rate in older, hospitalized adults, a new study from Denmark has found.

Investigators followed outcomes among 11,525 patients aged 70 years and older who were admitted to Dutch intensive care units. When they analyzed records of in-ICU or in-hospital deaths, they found mortality rates of 40% and 48%, respectively. 

In comparison, hospital mortality rates of patients admitted with bacterial and viral pneumonia were 29%, and 32% respectively. Comparative ICU mortality was even lower, at 19% and 23% for bacterial and viral pneumonia, respectively. The results held true after adjusting for comorbidities and ICU occupancy rates.

“Nevertheless, more than half of these older patients admitted to Dutch ICUs with COVID-19 survived the hospital,” noted study author Lenneke E. M. Haas, MD, PhD, of Diakonessenhuis, a hospital in the Netherlands. “Our findings provide important additional data to include in informed goals-of-care discussions,” he concluded.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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