What are the symptoms and outcomes of older patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line:

Through this study, it was found that the mortality rate of older adults with COVID-19 was 34.5%, with symptoms including fever, chest distress, and dry cough.


Chen, T. et al. Clinical characteristics and outcomes of older patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China (2019): a single-centered, retrospective study. Journal of Gerontology (2020). DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glaa089

Date Published:

11 April 2020


This study found that older patients (over the age of 65) with COVID-19 most commonly displayed symptoms of fever, dry cough, chest distress, and an overall mortality of 34.5%. Compared to younger patients, the rate of mortality is increased, in addition to a greater sensation of shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and chest tightness. As well, when comparing the two groups, older patients had increased rates of high white blood cell counts (cells required to fight infection) but decreased lymphocytes (a form of white blood cell) overall, in addition to other significant laboratory findings. Comorbidities (other diseases already present), being male, the amount of time between infection and arrival to hospital, kidney dysfunction, and elevated procalcitonin levels (substances released in response to tissue injury and bacterial infection) were all associated with increased mortality. This emphasizes the importance of early screening and diagnosis as a means to improve the prognosis for elderly patients.

Summary by: Max Solish