At Temple Health, which has one of the busiest COVID-19 units in the region, about a third of patients have some type of cardiovascular disease, said Gerard Criner, director of the Temple Lung Center.
Nationally, just over a quarter of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 reported cardiovascular disease, according to the CDC.
Temple has also seen a high number of COVID-19 patients with kidney disease. This is not among the most common underlying conditions identified by the CDC, but Temple has a large kidney disease program. For that reason, many Temple patients rely on dialysis, potentially putting them at greater risk for contracting the virus, Criner said.
"I think that the number of comorbidities and severity of cases will be different between institutions because of the patients they treat," he said. "We're in an inner city -- you'll see patients with more severe organ dysfunction."
Harris, of Einstein, agreed. Einstein serves North Philadelphia neighborhoods with above-average rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and other medical conditions that have been linked to adverse childhood experiences -- such as systemic racism -- and are now putting Black and Latino people at greater risk of severe COVID-19 complications.
"Our patients were set up for having more severe disease," she said.
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