OBJECTIVES: To calculate the rates of COVID-19 infection and COVID-19-related death among people with rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases (RAIRD) during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in England compared with the general population. METHODS: We used Hospital Episode Statistics to identify all people alive on 1 March 2020 with ICD-10 codes for RAIRD from the whole population of England. We used linked national health records (demographic, death certificate, admissions and PCR testing data) to calculate rates of COVID-19 infection and death up to 31 July 2020. Our primary definition of COVID-19-related death was mention of COVID-19 on the death certificate. General population data from Public Health England and the Office for National Statistics were used for comparison. We also describe COVID-19-related hospital admissions and all-cause deaths. RESULTS: We identified a cohort of 168 680 people with RAIRD, of whom 1874 (1.11%) had a positive COVID-19 PCR test. The age-standardized infection rate was 1.54 (95% CI: 1.50, 1.59) times higher than in the general population. A total of 713 (0.42%) people with RAIRD died with COVID-19 on their death certificate and the age-sex-standardized mortality rate for COVID-19-related death was 2.41 (2.30-2.53) times higher than in the general population. There was no evidence of an increase in deaths from other causes in the RAIRD population. CONCLUSIONS: During the first wave of COVID-19 in England, people with RAIRD had a 54% increased risk of COVID-19 infection and more than twice the risk of COVID-19-related death compared with the general population. These increases were seen despite shielding policies.
- rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)