Nearly 9 in 10 Covid-19 Patients on Ventilators Died

A giant study that examined outcomes for more than 2,600 patients found an extraordinarily high 88% death rate among Covid-19 patients in the New York City area who had to be placed on mechanical devices to help them breathe.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is one of the largest reviews published to date of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the U.S. The researchers examined outcomes for coronavirus patients who were admitted between March 1 and April 4 to 12 hospitals in New York City and Long Island that are part of the Northwell Health system.

Overall, the researchers reported that 553 patients died, or 21%. But among the 12% of very sick patients that needed ventilators to breathe, the death rate rose to 88%. The rate was particularly awful for patients over 65 who were placed on a machine, with just 3% of those patients surviving, according to the results. Men had a higher mortality rate than women.

Two days after releasing the study, the Journal issued a clarification, deleting the 88% figure from the abstract and saying that most ventilator patients in the study were still hospitalized and that the mortality rate is expected to come down as more results come in. The clarification also stated that 24.5% of the total number of patients who had received ventilator treatment had died, while 3.3% survived and were discharged. The rest, or 72.2%, remained hospitalized as of April 4.

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