Schizophrenia is a chronic and complex mental illness that causes a range of serious cognitive and psychological symptoms, including paranoid delusions, depression, disordered thinking, and auditory and visual hallucinations.

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry on January 27, 2021 reviewed the association between various psychological disorders and risk of death in patients with a SARS-CoV-2 positive test. The research shows a significant association with mortality among those diagnosed with a history of a schizophrenia spectrum illness, even after adjusting for other co-morbidities. Age is still the most important risk factor, but people living with schizophrenia also face a high risk with COVID-19.

Among 26,540 patients tested in New York between March 3 and May 31, 2020, researchers found 7,348 patients who had tested positive for Covid-19, and then compared records to determine which of them had a psychiatric disorder. Of those included in the study, 75 patients had a history of a schizophrenia spectrum illness, 564 had a history of a mood disorder, and 360 had a history of an anxiety disorder. After adjusting for demographic and other risk factors associated with worse outcomes, those with a history of a schizophrenia spectrum illness were 2.7 times more likely die from COVID-19.

The authors call for further research and say that targeted interventions may be needed for patients with severe mental illness.

Read the full NYU Langone study here.

Studies from South Korea and Israel also show similar findings.