People with dementia, and those who are African-American or who have vascular dementia in particular, have twice the risk for developing COVID-19 as do adults who do not have dementia, according to a new study from Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Among patients with dementia, black patients were three times as likely as white patients to be infected by COVID-19. Black individuals with both dementia and COVID-19 also had a higher hospitalization rate than white patients with dementia—73 percent compared with 54 percent— and a higher death rate than whites—23 percent compared with 19 percent, respectively.


Further analyses made in the study showed that the odds of contracting COVID-19 for patients with vascular dementia remained more than three times greater than patients without vascular dementia even after adjusting for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, and other known risk factors.

The study is based on a retrospective analysis of patient electronic health record data, which have been widely used for observational studies. Data collected included those in the United States in 2020 from 360 hospitals, more than 300,000 health care providers, and 1,064,960 patients with dementia.

The authors controlled for older age and whether the patient lived in a nursing home. The study also took into account whether participants had cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The authors note that the number of COVID-19 cases in the database is substantially lower than reported cases in the United States.

Another limitation is that the patients in the study were individuals who have encounters with health care systems and are not necessarily representative of the general U.S. population.

“Despite these limitations, this large nationwide database allows us to identify early trends in risks, disparities, and outcomes of COVID-19 in [patients with] dementia engaged with health care systems on a nationwide basis,” the study said.

According to the report, there are limited data on the risks, disparity, and outcomes for COVID-19 in individuals with dementia. The findings highlight the need to protect individuals with dementia—black patients and those with vascular dementia in particular—as part of the strategy to control the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors said.

The research is funded by National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging, The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and The Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative of Cleveland.

To read the study, visit