New York is the current epicenter of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The underrepresented minorities, where the prevalence of obesity is higher, appear to be affected disproportionately. Our objectives were to assess the characteristics and early outcomes of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Bronx and investigate whether obesity is associated with worse outcomes independently from age, gender and other comorbidities.
This retrospective study included the first 200 patients admitted to a tertiary medical center with COVID-19. The electronic medical records were reviewed at least three weeks after admission. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality.
200 patients were included (female sex: 102, African American: 102). The median BMI was 30 kg/m. The median age was 64 years. Hypertension (76%), hyperlipidemia (46.2%), and diabetes (39.5%) were the three most common comorbidities. Fever (86%), cough (76.5%), and dyspnea (68%) were the three most common symptoms. 24% died during hospitalization (BMI<25 kg/m: 31.6%, BMI 25-34 kg/m: 17.2%, BMI≥35 kg/m: 34.8%, p= 0.03). Increasing age (analyzed in quartiles), male sex, BMI≥35 kg/m (reference: BMI 25-34 kg/m), heart failure, CAD, and CKD or ESRD were found to have a significant univariate association with mortality. The multivariate analysis demonstrated that BMI≥35 kg/m (reference: BMI 25-34 kg/m, OR: 3.78; 95% CI: 1.45 - 9.83; p=0.006), male sex (OR: 2.74; 95% CI: 1.25 - 5.98; p=0.011) and increasing age (analyzed in quartiles, OR: 1.73; 95% CI: 1.13 - 2.63; p=0.011) were independently associated with higher in-hospital mortality. Similarly, age, male sex, BMI≥35 kg/m and current or prior smoking were significant predictors for increasing oxygenation requirements in the multivariate analysis, while male sex, age and BMI≥35 kg/m were significant predictors in the multivariate analysis for the outcome of intubation.
In this cohort of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in a minority-predominant population, severe obesity, increasing age, and male sex were independently associated with higher in-hospital mortality and in general worse in-hospital outcomes.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.