Comprehensive analysis: the impact of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test on relative mortality

It has been more than a year since the first confirmed U.S. case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and a year since most states entered their initial lockdown. A year into the pandemic and we are starting to see hope—three vaccines have been approved and cases are decreasing. 

Quest continues to monitor COVID-19 and contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of this novel disease. Using laboratory records, Quest was able to evaluate the impact of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test on relative mortality. The study evaluated over 3.6 million patients with a viral SARS-CoV-2 test. This patient pool had a positivity rate of 9.92%. Mortality data from the Social Security Administration allowed us to identify over 5,000 deaths among the COVID-tested population. Lastly, this patient pool was segmented by applicant age and gender.

Using logistic regression, our models found a positive SARS-CoV-2 test to be a statistically significant predictor of relative mortality among all age and gender segmentations. The increase to absolute mortality risk was small among the younger population but grew among older age groups as the base mortality risk naturally rose with age. A positive SARS-CoV-2 test increased relative mortality among even the youngest cohorts (18- to 30-year-olds), although the absolute effect was comparatively very small.

COVID mortality in age and gender age 20-50
COVID mortality in age and gender age 60-90

As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop, Quest is in a unique position to be able to use data to help contribute to our understanding of this disease. This mortality study was conducted with data gathered through August 2020. As more testing and mortality data become available, additional analysis of the impact of comorbidities and positive SARS-CoV-2 tests on relative mortality can help further corroborate findings found within other studies and enhance our understanding of COVID-19.