Eur J Epidemiol 36 (3) 287-298 [2021-03-00; online 2021-03-11]
We conducted a nationwide, registry-based study to investigate the importance of 34 potential risk factors for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosis, hospitalization (with or without intensive care unit [ICU] admission), and subsequent all-cause mortality. The study population comprised all COVID-19 cases confirmed in Sweden by mid-September 2020 (68,575 non-hospitalized, 2494 ICU hospitalized, and 13,589 non-ICU hospitalized) and 434,081 randomly sampled general-population controls. Older age was the strongest risk factor for hospitalization, although the odds of ICU hospitalization decreased after 60-69 years and, after controlling for other risk factors, the odds of non-ICU hospitalization showed no trend after 40-49 years. Residence in a long-term care facility was associated with non-ICU hospitalization. Male sex and the presence of at least one investigated comorbidity or prescription medication were associated with both ICU and non-ICU hospitalization. Three comorbidities associated with both ICU and non-ICU hospitalization were asthma, hypertension, and Down syndrome. History of cancer was not associated with COVID-19 hospitalization, but cancer in the past year was associated with non-ICU hospitalization, after controlling for other risk factors. Cardiovascular disease was weakly associated with non-ICU hospitalization for COVID-19, but not with ICU hospitalization, after adjustment for other risk factors. Excess mortality was observed in both hospitalized and non-hospitalized COVID-19 cases. These results confirm that severe COVID-19 is related to age, sex, and comorbidity in general. The study provides new evidence that hypertension, asthma, Down syndrome, and residence in a long-term care facility are associated with severe COVID-19.