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COVID-19: Severe course of the disease - These patients need special protective measures

COVID-19: Severe course of the disease - These patients need special protective measures


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Severe course of coronavirus infections: special protection for certain patients

The number of people who contracted the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in Germany has recently increased again. The majority of infections are mild or even without symptoms. But especially people from certain risk groups can get seriously ill. These people need special protection.

The risk of developing COVID-19 is currently high for all population groups due to the lack of immunity. Most people who become infected with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are not seriously ill. Especially patients with chronic respiratory and lung diseases are unsettled. The German Society for Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine (DGP) explains which patients need special protection.

Most of the disease is mild to moderate

In the majority of patients with COVID-19, the disease is mild to moderate and shows symptoms on average for a period of 11.5 days after infection.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), eight to ten percent of COVID-19 patients in Germany are treated in hospital.

"This number is likely to overestimate the proportion of severe cases, since not only the severity of the disease, but also the necessary isolation, was the reason for the admission, especially at the beginning of the pandemic," explains Professor Dr. med. Torsten Bauer, deputy DGP president.

"This is shown by the relatively low proportion of intensive care treatments in only eight percent of these hospitalized cases."

Increased risk for certain groups of people

As the RKI explains, the risk of serious COVID-19 disease from 50 to 60 years increases steadily with age.

Various underlying diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, diseases of the respiratory system, liver, kidney, cancer or factors such as obesity and smoking seem to increase the risk of a severe course of the disease.

And there is also a higher risk for patients with a suppressed immune system (for example, due to a disease that is associated with an immune deficiency or due to taking drugs that suppress the immune system).

Mortality rates differ considerably depending on the age group

According to the DGP, the currently estimated probability of dying from COVID-19, according to currently available data, is less than one percent (based on the estimated total of all infected people).

The mortality rates differ considerably depending on the age group. Older people are affected more often than younger people.

Many patients with chronic respiratory and lung diseases such as asthma or COPD are concerned about the current pandemic and fear that they will be more at risk from SARS-CoV-2 than healthy people.

"Patients want to protect themselves optimally from infection," says Professor Dr. Marek Lommatzsch, senior physician at the Department of Pneumology at the University of Rostock and spokesman for the German Lung Day.

"But doctors who are obliged to provide their patients with appropriate and sensible protective measures are also unsettled."

That is why the risk assessment is particularly important for patient groups with existing respiratory and lung diseases.

Strictly adhere to recommendations

In the paper "Risk Assessment in Patients with Chronic Respiratory and Lung Diseases as Part of the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic", the DGP experts estimate the risk of certain patient groups (e.g. with asthma, COPD, lung cancer or sleep apnea), a severe COVID 19 disease course and explain which patient groups need special protection.

For example, well-treated patients with asthma have no increased risk of severe COVID-19 courses. However, the situation is different for people with COPD: "From the data available so far, there is evidence that patients with COPD are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 courses," explains Lommatzsch.

"If cardiovascular comorbidity is present, there is a significantly increased risk in patients with COPD," said the expert.

"We recommend all patients with chronic respiratory and lung diseases to adhere strictly to the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute," says Lommatzsch. "In particular, the distance requirements, hygiene rules and vaccination recommendations should be observed."

The full recommendations of the DGP can be found on the website of the professional association free of charge. The recommendations are updated regularly based on the new findings on COVID-19 every day. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


Video: Covid-19: Steroids and Other Therapies, u0026 Covid Patients with Persistent Symptoms: Whats Going On? (July 2022).


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