The clinical spectrum of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection is still being defined. Now, investigators describe the characteristics of 99 people with confirmed 2019-nCoV pneumonia who were admitted to one infectious diseases specialty hospital between January 1 and 20, 2020, in Wuhan, China.
The patients' average age was 55; two thirds were men; 47 had long-term exposure (e.g., salesmen, market managers) and 2 had short-term exposure (shoppers) to the Huanan seafood market. About 50% had chronic conditions, most commonly cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (40%). At hospital admission, symptoms and signs included fever (83%), cough (82%), and shortness of breath (31%); few patients had sore throat, rhinorrhoea, or gastrointestinal symptoms (≤5% each). Laboratory findings included liver function abnormalities (43%) and lymphopaenia (35%).
On chest x-ray or computed tomography, 75% had evidence of bilateral pneumonia; 1 person had a pneumothorax. Complications at time of presentation included acute respiratory distress syndrome (17%), acute kidney injury (3%), and septic shock (4%). By January 25, 11 patients (11%) had died. Seven of the deaths were in people over 60 years old.
This case series suggests that severe disease due to 2019-nCoV infection is most likely to occur in older people with comorbid conditions, as is the case with influenza and many other infectious diseases.