Sepsis is a deadly complication of COVID-19, but more than 60% of adults don’t know.
As sepsis awareness reaches record high, deep racial and ethnic disparities are exposed.
The 2020 Sepsis Alliance Annual Survey revealed both positive and troubling findings on the state of sepsis awareness in the United States. Awareness of the term sepsis reached an all-time high of 71%, a significant increase over last year’s awareness level of 65%. However, awareness levels of the term vary significantly among racial and ethnic groups, with people who identify as Black reporting the lowest awareness levels (49%). Awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis is low at 15% and is particularly low among people who identify as Black (5%).
Sepsis is the most common complication observed in severe cases of COVID-191,2, yet only about one-third of adults are aware that it is a possible complication. This, coupled with lower sepsis awareness levels among people who identify as Black and Hispanic, is especially concerning because these communities have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19.3