BACKGROUND: On September 5 , 2020, India reported the second highest COVID-19 cases globally . Given India's unique disease burden including both infectious and chronic diseases, there is a need to study the survival patterns of COVID-19 . We aimed to describe the factors associated with COVID-19 deaths in the State of Tamil Nadu that has the highest COVID-19 case burden among the Indian states, and to compare deaths among COVID patients with and without comorbidities .
METHODS: We analyzed the first 1000 COVID deaths (1 March to 26 June 2020) and 1000 recent deaths at the time of analysis (1-10 August 2020). We examined data on facility (public vs private), age, gender, duration of illness prior to and/or during hospitalizations, symptoms, comorbidities and cause of death . We used R statistical program to do the analysis . We compared deaths among patients with and without comorbidities using Wilcoxon rank sum test . p <0.05 was considered significant .
RESULTS: First, we found a shorter time interval from onset of symptoms to death in India than that was reported in the USA and China . Second, young adults without comorbidities had shorter survival from the time of onset of symptoms irrespective of their timing of hospitalization . Third, hypothyroidism is a COVID-19 associated co-morbidity . Longitudinal studies are needed to further assess the thyroid-COVID-19 link .
CONCLUSION: As COVID-19 infection rates are accelerating rapidly in India, it is crucial to sensitize young adults while protecting the elderly and other vulnerable populations.