Asthma Disease Status, COPD, and COVID-19 Severity in a Large Multiethnic Population

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2021 Oct;9(10):3621-3628.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2021.07.030. Epub 2021 Aug 10.


Background: Current studies of asthma history on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes are limited and lack consideration of disease status.

Objective: To conduct a population-based study to assess asthma disease status and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in relation to COVID-19 severity.

Methods: Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 (n = 61,338) in a large, diverse integrated health care system were identified. Asthma/COPD history, medication use, and covariates were extracted from electronic medical records. Asthma patients were categorized into those with and without clinical visits for asthma 12 or fewer months prior to COVID-19 diagnosis and labeled as active and inactive asthma, respectively. Primary outcomes included COVID-19-related hospitalizations, intensive respiratory support (IRS), and intensive care unit admissions within 30 days, and mortality within 60 days after COVID-19 diagnosis. Logistic and Cox regression were used to relate COVID-19 outcomes to asthma/COPD history.

Results: The cohort was 53.9% female and 66% Hispanic and had a mean age of 43.9 years. Patients with active asthma had increased odds of hospitalization, IRS, and intensive care unit admission (odds ratio 1.47-1.66; P < .05) compared with patients without asthma or COPD. No increased risks were observed for patients with inactive asthma. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was associated with increased risks of hospitalization, IRS, and mortality (odds ratio and hazard ratio 1.27-1.67; P < .05). Among active asthma patients, those using asthma medications had greater than 25% lower odds for COVID-19 outcomes than those without medication.

Conclusions: Patients with asthma who required clinical care 12 or fewer months prior to COVID-19 or individuals with COPD history are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes. Proper medication treatment for asthma may lower this risk.

Keywords: Asthma; COPD; COVID-19; Hospitalization; Mortality; Severity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive* / epidemiology
  • SARS-CoV-2