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Post-acute COVID-19 Mortality and Morbidity Effects

Adverse mortality and morbidity impacts—including cardiovascular, neuropsychiatric, and renal and endocrine disease—may emerge after the acute phase of COVID-19 infection. This paper gives medical directors and underwriters insight into the risks associated with late-onset effects that may prove significant.

By Brian Ivanovic, DO, MS

Based on data from the U.S. Household Pulse Survey, as many as 18 million Americans may currently be experiencing some level of the persistent symptoms known as, “long COVID.” However, there has been more limited investigation of the findings that some individuals—even months after their infection—have developed new-onset disease or died prematurely.

This white paper focuses on published literature investigating the emergence of excess mortality and new-onset disease occurring more than 30 days after infection. Since multiple organ systems are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, the range of adverse morbidity effects is quite varied, including findings of elevated cardiovascular risk (ischemic heart disease, heart failure, myocarditis, and coagulation disorders), neuropsychiatric risk (stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s, depression), and renal and endocrine risk (diabetes).

Infections due to COVID-19 continue, so researchers face challenges in predicting how long these effects will last. Longer-term follow-up studies might confirm a continued tapering of morbidity and mortality risks associated with COVID-19 infections. But for now the risk of disease emergence in the post-acute period reaffirms the value of our Irix® identified data interpretation products. Post-acute COVID-19 mortality and morbidity effects are yet another reason underwriters need objective and rapidly accessible prescription, billing, and summarized electronic health record information if they’re to confirm the health status of applicants applying for insurance.

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