Eur J Epidemiol 35 (5) 401-409 [2020-05-00; online 2020-05-18]
The World Health Organization and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggest that individuals over the age of 70 years or with underlying cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, or diabetes are at increased risk of severe COVID-19. However, the prevalence of these prognostic factors is unknown in many countries. We aimed to describe the burden and prevalence of prognostic factors of severe COVID-19 at national and county level in Sweden. We calculated the burden and prevalence of prognostic factors for severe COVID-19 based on records from the Swedish national health care and population registers for 3 years before 1st January 2016. 9,624,428 individuals were included in the study population. 22.1% had at least one prognostic factor for severe COVID-19 (2,131,319 individuals), and 1.6% had at least three factors (154,746 individuals). The prevalence of underlying medical conditions ranged from 0.8% with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (78,516 individuals) to 7.4% with cardiovascular disease (708,090 individuals), and the county specific prevalence of at least one prognostic factor ranged from 19.2% in Stockholm (416,988 individuals) to 25.9% in Kalmar (60,005 individuals). We show that one in five individuals in Sweden is at increased risk of severe COVID-19. When compared with the critical care capacity at a local and national level, these results can aid authorities in optimally planning healthcare resources during the current pandemic. Findings can also be applied to underlying assumptions of disease burden in modelling efforts to support COVID-19 planning.