Risk of COVID-19 Death Nearly 4 Times Higher in People with Schizophrenia
Jolynn Tumolo, 01/06/2022
People with schizophrenia had higher odds of dying from COVID-19 but, along with people with mood disorders, had significantly lower rates of testing positive for COVID-19 compared with the general population. Researchers published their findings in JAMA Network Open.
“After fully adjusting for demographic factors and comorbid conditions,” researchers reported, “patients with schizophrenia were nearly 4 times more likely to die from the disease than the reference group (OR, 3.74; 95% CI, 2.66-5.24).”
Using electronic health record data for 2.5 million US patients in 2020, researchers compared patients with 3 types of psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) and a reference group of patients with no major psychiatric conditions on 2 measures: the odds of testing positive for COVID-19 and the odds of death from COVID-19.
Results showed COVID-19 positivity rates of 9.86% for the schizophrenia cohort and 9.86% for the mood disorder cohort, which were significantly lower than positivity rates for the anxiety disorder cohort (11.17%) as well as the general population (11.91%).
In addition to finding patients with schizophrenia who had COVID-19 were nearly 4 times more likely to die from it compared with the reference group, the study found that patients with mood disorders had 2.76 times greater odds of COVID-19 mortality, while the anxiety disorder cohort had a 2.39 times greater odds of mortality, compared with the reference group.
Researchers believe lower rates of COVID-19 positivity in people with schizophrenia and mood disorders could reflect either less virus exposure due to social withdrawal or, alternatively, lower testing numbers rather than reduced infection rates.
“Upon review of the site of COVID-19 testing, it was revealed that the patients with schizophrenia had a much higher rate (almost 40%) of receiving a test at an inpatient facility, including a psychiatric facility,” researchers wrote. “These patients would ostensibly be less likely to seek testing in outpatient clinics or dedicated sites, probably undergoing COVID-19 tests when presenting related symptoms.”
Teixeira AL, Krause TM, Ghosh L, et al. Analysis of COVID-19 infection and mortality among patients with psychiatric disorders, 2020. JAMA Netw Open. Published online November 1, 2021. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.34969
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Thank you very much. You have provided powerful and very upsetting reasons for me to seek amendments to CDC Guidelines from 12 27 21. I will resist to the best of ability to protect all of my persons afflicted with SMI and Addictive Disorders and all of our friends, colleagues, staff and members of the communities all over the USA. I wish to share this link to the AMA's position from 01 06 22. COVID live updates: American Medical Association criticizes CDC's new guidance | WPHM. As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.4 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 832,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering. “The American people should be able to count on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for timely, accurate, clear guidance to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities. Instead, the new recommendations on quarantine and isolation are not only confusing, but are risking further spread of the virus,” the American Medical Association’s president, Dr. Gerald E. Harmon, said in a statement Wednesday night.
Harmon referenced data cited by the CDC in its rationale for shortening the isolation period, which estimates 31% of people remain infectious five days after a positive COVID-19 test, suggesting that data proves thousands of Americans could return to their lives while still infected.
“With hundreds of thousands of new cases daily and more than a million positive reported cases on January 3, tens of thousands — potentially hundreds of thousands of people — could return to work and school infectious if they follow the CDC’s new guidance on ending isolation after five days without a negative test,” Harmon said. “Physicians are concerned that these recommendations put our patients at risk and could further overwhelm our health care system.”
Harmon said a negative COVID-19 test should be required for ending isolation after a positive test, as reentering society without knowing whether an individual is still positive ultimately risks further transmission of the virus. [We might need two antigen rapid tests on successive days on 5th and 7th days for instance to make sure the person si safe to stop isolation especially if a Prior PCR test was positive during this episode. With the numbers of people potentially at risk we must revise the CDC guidelines. Dr Walensky, MD is undermining our oath to uphold this tenet of Medical Ethics. Primum Non Nocere. Please write to me I have a great deal of information on COVID-19 Risk mitigation strategies. Velandy Manohar, MD., Distinguished Life Fellow, Am Psychiatric Assoc. I concur with Dr Harmon and the AMA- Although test availability remains an issue nationwide, Harmon also called on the Biden administration to ramp up production and distribution of tests, adding that “a dearth of tests at the moment does not justify omitting a testing requirement to exit a now shortened isolation.” VM