July 23, 2020

Effectiveness of government actions, country preparedness, socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality, health outcomes

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note: 

Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in number of critical cases or overall COVID-19 mortality; however, they were significantly associated with increased patient recovery rates, this study of 50 countries finds.

Increasing COVID-19 caseloads were associated with countries with higher obesity, higher median population age, and longer time to border closures from the first reported case.


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Increased mortality was significantly associated with higher obesity prevalence and per capita gross domestic product.

Variables that were negatively associated with increased COVID-19 mortality were reduced income dispersion within the nation, a higher smoking prevalence, and the number of nurses (ie, more nurses within a healthcare system was associated with reduced mortality)

The finding of lower smoking rates among the critically ill COVID-19 patients may be due in part to their increased age distribution because countries with a lower median age have higher smoking rates, the researchers say.

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