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.
Studies from South Korea and Israel also show similar findings.