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In March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.


Our objective was to identify risk factors predictive of severe disease and death in France.


In this prospective cohort study, we included patients ≥ 18 years old with confirmed COVID-19, hospitalised in Strasbourg and Mulhouse hospitals (France), in March 2020. We respectively compared patients who developed severe disease (admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) or death) and patients who died, to those who did not, by day 7 after hospitalisation.


Among 1,045 patients, 424 (41%) had severe disease, including 335 (32%) who were admitted to ICU, and 115 (11%) who died. Mean age was 66 years (range: 20–100), and 612 (59%) were men. Almost 75% of patients with body mass index (BMI) data (n = 897) had a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 (n = 661). Independent risk factors associated with severe disease were advanced age (odds ratio (OR): 1.1 per 10-year increase; 95% CrI (credible interval): 1.0–1.2), male sex (OR: 2.1; 95% CrI: 1.5–2.8), BMI of 25–29.9 kg/m2 (OR: 1.8; 95% CrI: 1.2–2.7) or ≥ 30 (OR: 2.2; 95% CrI: 1.5–3.3), dyspnoea (OR: 2.5; 95% CrI: 1.8–3.4) and inflammatory parameters (elevated C-reactive protein and neutrophil count, low lymphocyte count). Risk factors associated with death were advanced age (OR: 2.7 per 10-year increase; 95% CrI: 2.1–3.4), male sex (OR: 1.7; 95% CrI: 1.1–2.7), immunosuppression (OR: 3.8; 95% CrI: 1.6–7.7), diabetes (OR: 1.7; 95% CrI: 1.0–2.7), chronic kidney disease (OR: 2.3; 95% CrI: 1.3–3.9), dyspnoea (OR: 2.1; 95% CrI: 1.2–3.4) and inflammatory parameters.


Overweightedness, obesity, advanced age, male sex, comorbidities, dyspnoea and inflammation are risk factors for severe COVID-19 or death in hospitalised patients. Identifying these features among patients in routine clinical practice might improve COVID-19 management.


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