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Estimating excess 1- year mortality from COVID-19 according to underlying conditions and age in England: a rapid analysis using NHS health records in 3.8 million adults

By Amitava Banerjee, Laura Pasea, Steve Harris, Arturo Gonzalez-Izquierdo, Ana Torralbo, Laura Shallcross, Mahdad Noursadeghi, Deenan Pillay, Christina Pagel, Wai Keong Wong, Claudia Langenberg, Bryan Williams, Spiros Denaxas, Harry Hemingway

Posted 24 Mar 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.22.20040287

BackgroundThe medical, health service, societal and economic impact of the COVID-19 emergency has unknown effects on overall population mortality. Previous models of population mortality are based on death over days among infected people, nearly all of whom (to date at least) have underlying conditions. Models have not incorporated information on high risk conditions or their longer term background (pre-COVID-19) mortality. We estimated the excess number of deaths over 1 year under different COVID-19 incidence rates and differing mortality impacts. MethodsUsing population based linked primary and secondary care electronic health records in England (HDR UK - CALIBER), we report the prevalence of underlying conditions defined by UK Public Health England COVID-19 guidelines (16 March 2020) in 3,862,012 individuals aged [≥]30 years from 1997-2017. We used previously validated phenotypes, openly available (https://caliberresearch.org/portal), for each condition using ICD-10 diagnosis, Read, procedure and medication codes. We estimated the 1-year mortality in each condition, and developed simple models of excess COVID-19-related deaths assuming relative risk (RR) of the impact of the emergency (compared to background mortality) of 1.2, 1.5 and 2.0. Findings20.0% of the population are at risk according to current PHE guidelines, of which; 13.7% were age>70 years and 6.3% aged [≤]70 years with [≥]1 underlying condition (cardiovascular disease (2.3%), diabetes (2.2%), steroid therapy (1.9%), severe obesity (0.9%), chronic kidney disease (0.6%) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD (0.5%). Multimorbidity (co-occurrence of [≥]2 conditions in an individual) was common (10.1%). The 1-year mortality in the at-risk population was 4.46%, and age and underlying conditions combine to influence background risk, varying markedly across conditions (5.9% in age>70 years, 8.6% for COPD and 13.1% in those with [≥]3 or more conditions). In a suppression scenario (at SARS CoV2 rates of 0.001% of the UK population), there would be minimal excess deaths (3 and 7 excess deaths at relative risk, RR, 1.5 and 2.0 respectively). At SARS CoV2 rates of 10% of the UK population (mitigation) the model estimates the numbers of excess deaths as: 13791, 34479 and 68957 (at RR 1.2, 1.5 and 2.0 respectively). At SARS CoV2 rates of 80% in the UK population ("do-nothing"), the model estimates the number of excess deaths as 110332, 275,830 and 551,659 (at RR 1.2, 1.5 and 2.0) respectively. InterpretationWe provide the public, researchers and policy makers a simple model to estimate the excess mortality over 1 year from COVID-19, based on underlying conditions at different ages. If the relative mortality impact of COVID-19 were to be about 20% (similar magnitude as the established winter vs summer mortality excess), then the excess deaths would be 0 when 1 in 100 000 (suppression), 13791 when 1 in 10 (mitigation) and 110332 when 8 in 10 are infected ("do nothing") scenario. However, the relative impact of COVID-19 is unknown. If the emergency were to double the mortality risk, then we estimate 7, 68957 and 551,659 excess deaths in the same scenarios. These results may inform the need for more stringent suppression measures as well as efforts to target those at highest risk for a range of preventive interventions.

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