HealthDay News — In-hospital mortality for SARS-CoV-2-positive patients of all ages has declined throughout the pandemic period, according to a study published online April 8 in JAMA Network Open.

Lyn Finelli, DrPH, from Merck and Co in Kenilworth, New Jersey, and colleagues assessed changes over time for in-hospital mortality in patients with SARS-CoV-2-positive tests from March 1 to November 21, 2020. The analysis included 503,409 patients who were hospitalized for at least 1 day at 209 US acute care hospitals (of variable size and in a mix of urban and rural areas), 8.5% of whom had a SARS-CoV-2-positive test.

The researchers found that hospital admissions among patients with SARS-CoV-2-positive tests were highest in the group aged 65 years and older (46.8%), followed by those aged 50 to 64 years (27.2%) and 18 to 49 years (24.9%). Increasing age was associated with higher in-hospital mortality rates regardless of SARS-CoV-2 positivity (SARS-CoV-2-negative: in-hospital mortality range, 0.4% for <18 years to 4.5% for >75 years; SARS-CoV-2-positive: 0.2% for <18 years to 20.9% for >75 years). Among SARS-CoV-2-negative patients, in-hospital mortality rates were similar for male and female patients (3.0% and 2.2%, respectively); however, among SARS-CoV-2-positive patients, mortality was higher for male patients (12.5% vs 9.6%). Overall, in-hospital mortality increased from March to April (10.6% to 19.7%), but then decreased significantly in November (9.3%). Over time, significant decreases in in-hospital mortality were observed in the oldest age groups.

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“Reductions in mortality rates did not appear to be associated with the age distribution of hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2-positive tests and were likely because of new therapies and improvements in the clinical management of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the authors write.

The authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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