Comorbidities were common in those COVID-19 cases admitted to Australian sentinel hospitals (general ward or ICU), with 78% recording at least one of the specified comorbidities; only 9% recorded no comorbidity. The proportion of hospitalised cases with no known comorbidity recorded in U.S hospital surveillance system COVID-NET was also reportedly 9%. By contrast, in the UK, 22.5% of 20,133 hospitalised COVID-19 cases had no recorded comorbidities. This UK study reports similar prevalence estimates for key comorbidities amongst hospitalised COVID-19 patients as found in Australian data. In sentinel Australian sites, chronic cardiac disease occurred in 29% of hospitalised cases (30.9% in the UK), diabetes in 32% (20.7% UK) and chronic respiratory disease (including asthma) in 31% of hospitalised cases (32% UK study).
Compared to ward-admitted patients, we observed higher prevalence rates amongst those admitted to ICU for almost all specified comorbidities
(Table 7). A history of smoking (current or past smoker) was identified in 31% of those hospitalised (52/166) and 14% those admitted to ICU (41/292).
COVID-19 Australia: Epidemiology Report 22 Fortnightly reporting period ending 2 August 2020: The symptoms reported by COVID-19 cases in Australia are consistent with a mild respiratory infection in the majority of cases. The principal symptoms reported in cases (Figure B.1) were cough (42%), fever (30%), sore throat (27%) and headache (20%). Other symptoms reported include malaise, lethargy or fatigue (20%) and loss of taste or smell (10%). These are currently not standard fields in NNDSS, and are likely to under-represent those presenting with these symptoms. A small number of cases reported more severe symptoms, with pneumonia and/or acute respiratory disease (ARD) reported in 2% of cases and in 15% of deaths.