- The overall case fatality rate (CFR) of COVID-19 based on published reports remains low at 2.3%, with data indicating lower overall Chinese mortality outside of the outbreak epicenter in Hubei, China.
- Beyond China, real-time reporting indicates CFRs between 2.7% (Iran), 0.5% (South Korea) and 1.7% (US); however, this information is provisional and likely to change.
- More than 80% of infected patients experience mild symptoms and recover without intensive medical intervention.
- However, morbidity and mortality increase significantly with age, rising to 8.0% among patients 70-79 and 14.8% in patients over 80 in large-scale Chinese case reporting
- Published case reports from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control indicate patients with underlying comorbid conditions have a heighted risk for contracting COVID-19 and a worse prognosis; depending on the report, between 25% and 50% of COVID-19 patients present with underlying conditions.
- Case fatality rates for comorbid patients are materially higher than the average population:
- Cancer: 5.6%
- Hypertension: 6.0%
- Chronic respiratory disease: 6.3%
- Diabetes: 7.3%
- Cardiovascular disease: 10.5%
Patients with chronic heart condition need to take extra care to protect against COVID-19. What can one do to defend against infection?
- It’s important for patients with heart disease to follow CDC recommendations to prevent infection. The virus is thought to spread from person to person among individuals within 6 feet of one another after someone with the virus sneezes or coughs. Defensive steps everyone can take include:
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth when you cough or use the inside of your elbow
- Cover your nose when you sneeze or use the inside of your elbow
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Clean surfaces touched often like doorknobs, handles, steering wheels, or light switches with a disinfectant to remove the virus
- In addition, people at higher risk should practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and limiting travel.
What should I do about my doctor’s appointment?
If you are having any symptoms concerning for COVID-19 (fever, shortness of breath and cough) consider going to a facility (ER) where you can be tested for COVID-19. Most physician offices are unable to test for COVID-19 and there is risk spreading the virus to vulnerable patients and staff.
This is a rapidly evolving disease and physician offices are establishing policies and practices to best protect the patients and staff. In accordance with society guidelines and CDC recommendations, most routinely scheduled appointment can be postponed and switched to telemedicine visit.
It is important to continue taking your medications and to notify your physician if you run out of medications as most of the medications can now be filled electronically.
Ask About Telehealth (Remote/Virtual) Visits
It is important to avoid crowded places and ask your physician to see if telemedicine visit is an option. It might be an option to substitute a telehealth visit for a routine, in-person medical visit. This would help limit possible contact with others who may have the virus.
Keep Up Healthy Habits
- While the news about the virus outbreak may seem overwhelming at times, it’s important not to lose sight of your overall health. Remember to eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and manage stress.
- Treatment for virus infections, including COVID-19, typically involves rest and staying hydrated. If you have heart failure, excess fluid in your body may be a concern. So, ask your health care professional about extra monitoring you might need.