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COVID-19 and mortality risk in patients with psychiatric disorders

By Kirov George, Emily Baker

Posted 13 Apr 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.08.21255046

COVID-19 has already caused the deaths of over 2.5 million people worldwide. Patients with certain medical conditions and severe psychiatric disorders are at increased risk of dying from it. However, such people have a reduced life expectancy anyway, raising the question whether COVID-19 incurs a specific risk for such patients for dying, over and above the risk of dying from other causes. We analysed the UK Biobank data of half a million middle-aged participants from the UK. From the start of 2020 up to 24th January 2021, 894 participants had died from COVID-19 and another 4,562 had died from other causes. We demonstrate that the risk of dying from COVID-19 among patients with mental health problems, especially those with dementia, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, is increased compared to the risk of dying from other causes. This increase among patients with severe psychiatric disorders cannot be explained solely by the higher rate of diabetes or cardiovascular disorders.

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