What is it about?

It is well known that some patients with COVID-19 had a bad outcome whereas the majority recover. Since the pandemic, researchers have tried using several methods including clinical features, lab tests, and certain scores to identify those patients who are likely to become bad. The NEWS 2 is a scoring system used widely in the hospitals for early detection of a worsening patient. We tried to find out if this simple score based on commonly recorded clinical data can help doctors predict which patients are likely to need support for breathing or increased chances of death.

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Why is it important?

Researchers found that blood tests like ferritin, and CRP and the presence of other diseases like diabetes and heart disease may correlate with bad outcomes in COVID-19 patients. But we looked at the usefulness of a simple score based on the patient's pulse rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels in the blood, breathing, need for oxygen, and body temperature to predict whether COVID-19 patients would go on to die or need breathing support by ventilators. Since the score is calculated with the help of very simple, easily measurable, inexpensive, and universally performed parameters, any primary care doctor or health professional can use it. A patient with a NEWS 2 score of 6 or more is likely to worsen and can be monitored more intensively or referred to a center with facilities for supported breathing.


The need for this study was the realization that expensive tests may not be affordable to all, not accessible to all, and may not be technically possible in remote and primary care regions of developing nations. A simple score that can be calculated from commonly recorded clinical parameters would mean that it can be used by any trained health professional in primary care or remote rural areas. This score needs to be popularised among primary and secondary care healthcare workers to improve the early identification of patients who need intensive care and/or referral.

Aneesh Basheer
DM Wayanad Institute of Medical Sciences

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: National Early Warning Score 2 (NEWS2) to predict poor outcome in hospitalised COVID-19 patients in India, PLoS ONE, December 2021, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261376.
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