Leo Sher, M.D.
A research report, “COVID-19 prevalence and mortality among schizophrenia patients: A large-scale retrospective cohort study” has been published in Schizophrenia Bulletin online ahead of print (1). The authors aimed to address the following research questions: (1) Are patients with schizophrenia more prone to COVID-19 infections? and (2) Do patients with schizophrenia have a more severe course of COVID-19 illness, as manifested by higher rates of hospitalization and mortality?
Patients with schizophrenia and age-and-sex matched controls (total n = 51,078) were assessed for frequency of COVID-19 positivity, hospitalizations, and mortality. The odds for COVID-19-associated hospitalization and mortality were calculated using logistic regression models, controlling for age, sex, marital status, sector, socioeconomic status, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, smoking, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The authors found that Individuals with schizophrenia were less likely to test positive for COVID-19. However, they were twice as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19, even after controlling for sociodemographic and clinical risk factors. Furthermore, they were three times more likely to die from COVID-19, compared to controls.
The authors concluded that they found evidence of associations between schizophrenia and increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality compared to controls. The results of the study stress the need to focus intervention efforts on modifiable factors that might minimize mortality rates among patients with schizophrenia.
1. Tzur Bitan D, Krieger I, Kridin K, Komantscher D, Scheinman Y, Weinstein O, Cohen AD, Cicurel AA, Feingold D. COVID-19 prevalence and mortality among schizophrenia patients: A large-scale retrospective cohort study. Schizophr Bull. 2021 Feb 19:sbab012. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbab012. Epub ahead of print.