Theodore Iwashyna

In the first months after their COVID-19 hospital stay, patients faced a high risk of ongoing health problems, trips back to the hospital, and death, a growing number of studies has shown.

But the first week and a half may be especially dangerous, according to a new study in JAMA by a team from the University of Michigan and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

COVID-19 patients had a 40% to 60% higher risk of ending up back in the hospital or dying in the first 10 days, compared with similar patients treated at the same hospitals during the same months for heart failure or pneumonia.

By the end of 60 days, the COVID-19 patients’ overall risk of readmission or death was lower than that for the other two serious conditions.

Even so, in the first two months, 9% of the COVID-19 patients who survived hospitalization had died, and almost 20% had suffered a setback that sent them back to the hospital.

That’s on top of the 18.5% who had died during their hospitalization.

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