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In Open forum infectious diseases

BACKGROUND : The mortality rates of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been changed across the epidemiological waves. The aim was to investigate the differences in mortality rates of COVID-19 patients in Japan across the 6 epidemiological waves stratified by age group and Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation Consortium (4C) mortality score risk group.

METHODS : A total of 56 986 COVID-19 patients in the COVID-19 Registry Japan from 2 March 2020 to 1 February 2022 were enrolled. These patients were categorized into 4 risk groups based on their 4C mortality score. Mortality rates of each risk group were calculated separately for different age groups: 18-64, 65-74, 75-89, and ≥90 years. In addition, mortality rates across the wave periods were calculated separately in 2 age groups: <75 and ≥75 years. All calculated mortality rates were compared with reported data from the United Kingdom (UK) during the early epidemic.

RESULTS : The mortality rates of patients in Japan were significantly lower than in the UK across the board, with the exception of patients aged ≥90 years at very high risk. The mortality rates of patients aged ≥75 years at very high risk in the fourth and fifth wave periods showed no significant differences from those in the UK, whereas those in the sixth wave period were significantly lower in all age groups and in all risk groups.

CONCLUSIONS : The present analysis showed that COVID-19 patients had a lower mortality rate in the most recent sixth wave period, even among patients ≥75 years old at very high risk.

Baba Hiroaki, Ikumi Saori, Aoyama Shotaro, Ishikawa Tetsuo, Asai Yusuke, Matsunaga Nobuaki, Ohmagari Norio, Kanamori Hajime, Tokuda Koichi, Ueda Takuya, Kawakami Eiryo


4C mortality score, COVID-19, Japan, elderly, epidemic wave