Population risk factors for COVID-19 mortality in 93 countries

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71 Citations (Scopus)


Death rates due to COVID-19 pandemic vary considerably across regions and countries. Case Mortality Rates (CMR) per 100,000 population are more reliable than case-fatality rates per 100 test-positive cases, which are heavily dependent on the extent of viral case testing carried out in a country. We aimed to study the variations in CMR against population risk factors such as aging, underlying chronic diseases and social determinants such as poverty and overcrowding. Data on COVID-19 CMR in 93 countries was analyzed for associations with preexisting prevalence rates of eight diseases [asthma, lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), hypertension, ischemic heart disease, depression and diabetes], and six socio-demographic factors [Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, unemployment, age over 65 years, urbanization, population density, and socio-demographic index]. These data were analyzed in three steps: correlation analysis, bivariate comparison of countries, and multivariate modelling. Bivariate analysis revealed that COVID-19 CMR were higher in countries that had high prevalence of population risk factors such as AD, lung cancer, asthma and COPD. On multivariate modeling however, AD, COPD, depression and higher GDP predicted increased death rates. Comorbid illnesses such as AD and lung diseases may be more influential than aging alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of epidemiology and global health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Epidemiology
  • Novel coronavirus
  • Risk factors
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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