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Black cancer patients more likely than Whites to have severe COVID

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A US study of 3,506 cancer patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 in 2020 shows that Black patients were significantly more likely than their White peers to have severe illness, regardless of demographic and clinical risk factors and cancer type, status, and therapy at COVID-19 diagnosis.A Tufts University researcher led the study, which was published yesterday in JAMA Network Open, using electronic health records and data from the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium registry from Mar 17 to Nov 18, 2020.

Underlying illnesses such as cancer put COVID-19 patients at higher risk for severe illness and death.Among all patients, 30% were Black, 50% were women, and median age at COVID-19 diagnosis was 65 years for Black patients and 68 for White patients.

Black patients had higher rates of underlying illnesses than White patients, including obesity (45% vs 38%), diabetes (38% vs 24%), and kidney disease (23% vs 16%).

Most patients had solid tumors, 20% of which were breast cancer.Higher rates of ICU admission, ventilation, deathBlack patients were more likely than their White peers to have moderate (41% vs 34%) or severe (15% vs 11%) COVID-19 at diagnosis (unweighted odds ratio [OR], 1.34; weighted OR, 1.21).

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