Ernesto L. Schiffrin, John Flack, Sadayoshi Ito, Paul Muntner, and Clinton Webb
The world is currently suffering from the outbreak of a pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease called COVID-19, first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China on December 31, 2019. As of March 29, 2020, there have been 732153 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide, with 34686 deaths. The clinical and epidemiological features of COVID-19 have been repeatedly published in the last few weeks. Interestingly, specific comorbidities associated with increased risk of infection and worse outcomes with development of increased severity of lung injury and mortality have been reported. The most common comorbidities in one report were hypertension (30%), diabetes (19%), and coronary heart disease (8%). Another report showed that the most frequent comorbidities in patients with COVID-19 who developed the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) were hypertension (27%), diabetes (19%) and cardiovascular disease (6%). The frequency with which COVID-19 patients are hypertensive is not entirely surprising nor does it necessarily imply a causal relationship between hypertension and COVID-19 or its severity, since hypertension is exceedingly frequent in the elderly, and older people appear to be at particular risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus and of experiencing severe forms and complications of COVID-19.