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Information on severity of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (transmissibility, disease seriousness, impact) is crucial for preparation of healthcare sectors. We present a simple approach to assess disease seriousness, creating a reference cohort of pneumonia patients from sentinel hospitals. First comparisons exposed a higher rate of COVID-19 patients requiring ventilation. There were more case fatalities among COVID-19 patients without comorbidities than in the reference cohort. Hospitals should prepare for high utilisation of ventilation and intensive care resources.


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