Associations between body-mass index and COVID-19 severity in 6·9 million people in England: a prospective, community-based, cohort study

  1. Authors: Min Gao, MSc *, Carmen Piernas, PhD  , Nerys M Astbury, PhD, Prof Julia Hippisley-Cox, FRCPProf Stephen O’Rahilly, FRS, Prof Paul Aveyard, FRCGP 



Obesity is a major risk factor for adverse outcomes after infection with SARS-CoV-2. We aimed to examine this association, including interactions with demographic and behavioural characteristics, type 2 diabetes, and other health conditions.


In this prospective, community-based, cohort study, we used de-identified patient-level data from the QResearch database of general practices in England, UK. We extracted data for patients aged 20 years and older who were registered at a practice eligible for inclusion in the QResearch database between Jan 24, 2020 (date of the first recorded infection in the UK) and April 30, 2020, and with available data on BMI. Data extracted included demographic, clinical, clinical values linked with Public Health England’s database of positive SARS-CoV-2 test results, and death certificates from the Office of National Statistics. Outcomes, as a proxy measure of severe COVID-19, were admission to hospital, admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), and death due to COVID-19. We used Cox proportional hazard models to estimate the risk of severe COVID-19, sequentially adjusting for demographic characteristics, behavioral factors, and comorbidities.


Among 6 910 695 eligible individuals (mean BMI 26·78 kg/m2 [SD 5·59]), 13 503 (0·20%) were admitted to hospital, 1601 (0·02%) to an ICU, and 5479 (0·08%) died after a positive test for SARS-CoV-2. We found J-shaped associations between BMI and admission to hospital due to COVID-19 (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] per kg/m2 from the nadir at BMI of 23 kg/m2 of 1·05 [95% CI 1·05–1·05]) and death (1·04 [1·04–1·05]), and a linear association across the whole BMI range with ICU admission (1·10 [1·09–1·10]). We found a significant interaction between BMI and age and ethnicity, with higher HR per kg/m2 above BMI 23 kg/m2 for younger people (adjusted HR per kg/m2 above BMI 23 kg/m2 for hospital admission 1·09 [95% CI 1·08–1·10] in 20–39 years age group vs 80–100 years group 1·01 [1·00–1·02]) and Black people than White people (1·07 [1·06–1·08] vs 1·04 [1·04–1·05]). The risk of admission to hospital and ICU due to COVID-19 associated with unit increase in BMI was slightly lower in people with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease than in those without these morbidities.

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Histopathological observations in COVID-19: a systematic review

  1. Authors: Vishwajit Deshmukh1, Rohini Motwani, Ashutosh Kumar3, Chiman Kumari4, Khursheed Raza5
  2. Correspondence to Dr Rohini Motwani, Department of Anatomy, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Sanathnagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India;


Background Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has caused a great global threat to public health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 disease as a pandemic, affecting the human respiratory and other body systems, which urgently demands for better understanding of COVID-19 histopathogenesis.

Objective Data on pathological changes in different organs are still scarce, thus we aim to review and summarise the latest histopathological changes in different organs observed after autopsy of COVID-19 cases.

Materials and methods Over the period of 3 months, authors performed vast review of the articles. The search engines included were PubMed, Medline (EBSCO & Ovid), Google Scholar, Science Direct, Scopus and Bio-Medical. Search terms used were ‘Histopathology in COVID-19’, ‘COVID-19’, ‘Pathological changes in different organs in COVID-19’ or ‘SARS-CoV-2’. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) 2009 guidelines were used for review writing.

Result We identified various articles related to the histopathology of various organs in COVID-19 positive patients. Overall, 45 articles were identified as full articles to be included in our study. Histopathological findings observed are summarised according to the systems involved.

Conclusion Although COVID-19 mainly affects respiratory and immune systems, but other systems like cardiovascular, urinary, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive system, nervous system and integumentary system are not spared, especially in elderly cases and those with comorbidity. This review would help clinicians and researchers to understand the tissue pathology, which can help in better planning of the management and avoiding future risks.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

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Underlying Medical Conditions and Severe Illness Among 540,667 Adults Hospitalized With COVID-19, March 2020–March 2021

Authors: Lyudmyla Kompaniyets, PhD1; Audrey F. Pennington, PhD1; Alyson B. Goodman, MD1,2; Hannah G. Rosenblum, MD1,3; Brook Belay, MD1; Jean Y. Ko, PhD1,2; Jennifer R. Chevinsky, MD1,3; Lyna Z. Schieber, DPhil, MD1; April D. Summers, MPH1; Amy M. Lavery, PhD1; Leigh Ellyn Preston, DrPH1; Melissa L. Danielson, MSPH1; Zhaohui Cui, PhD1; Gonza Namulanda, DrPH1; Hussain Yusuf, MD1; William R. Mac Kenzie, MD1,2; Karen K. Wong, MD1,2; James Baggs, PhD1; Tegan K. Boehmer, PhD1,2; Adi V. Gundlapalli, MD, PhD1 (View author affiliations)



Severe COVID-19 illness in adults has been linked to underlying medical conditions. This study identified frequent underlying conditions and their attributable risk of severe COVID-19 illness.


We used data from more than 800 US hospitals in the Premier Healthcare Database Special COVID-19 Release (PHD-SR) to describe hospitalized patients aged 18 years or older with COVID-19 from March 2020 through March 2021. We used multivariable generalized linear models to estimate adjusted risk of intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, and death associated with frequent conditions and total number of conditions.


Among 4,899,447 hospitalized adults in PHD-SR, 540,667 (11.0%) were patients with COVID-19, of whom 94.9% had at least 1 underlying medical condition. Essential hypertension (50.4%), disorders of lipid metabolism (49.4%), and obesity (33.0%) were the most common. The strongest risk factors for death were obesity (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = 1.30; 95% CI, 1.27–1.33), anxiety and fear-related disorders (aRR = 1.28; 95% CI, 1.25–1.31), and diabetes with complication (aRR = 1.26; 95% CI, 1.24–1.28), as well as the total number of conditions, with aRRs of death ranging from 1.53 (95% CI, 1.41–1.67) for patients with 1 condition to 3.82 (95% CI, 3.45–4.23) for patients with more than 10 conditions (compared with patients with no conditions).


Certain underlying conditions and the number of conditions were associated with severe COVID-19 illness. Hypertension and disorders of lipid metabolism were the most frequent, whereas obesity, diabetes with complication, and anxiety disorders were the strongest risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness. Careful evaluation and management of underlying conditions among patients with COVID-19 can help stratify risk for severe illness.

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Comorbidity and its Impact on Patients with COVID-19

Authors: Adekunle Sanyaolu 1Chuku Okorie 2Aleksandra Marinkovic 3Risha Patidar 3Kokab Younis 4Priyank Desai 5Zaheeda Hosein 6Inderbir Padda 7Jasmine Mangat 6Mohsin Altaf 8


A novel human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, the virus has made its way across the globe to affect over 180 countries. SARS-CoV-2 has infected humans in all age groups, of all ethnicities, both males and females while spreading through communities at an alarming rate. Given the nature of this virus, there is much still to be learned; however, we know that the clinical manifestations range from a common cold to more severe diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multi-organ failure, and even death. It is believed that COVID-19, in those with underlying health conditions or comorbidities, has an increasingly rapid and severe progression, often leading to death. This paper examined the comorbid conditions, the progression of the disease, and mortality rates in patients of all ages, infected with the ongoing COVID-19 disease. An electronic literature review search was performed, and applicable data was then collected from peer-reviewed articles published from January to April 20, 2020. From what is known at the moment, patients with COVID-19 disease who have comorbidities, such as hypertension or diabetes mellitus, are more likely to develop a more severe course and progression of the disease. Furthermore, older patients, especially those 65 years old and above who have comorbidities and are infected, have an increased admission rate into the intensive care unit (ICU) and mortality from the COVID-19 disease. Patients with comorbidities should take all necessary precautions to avoid getting infected with SARS CoV-2, as they usually have the worst prognosis.

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