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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

How your covid-19 risk could vary by age

Early-stage evidence of the outbreak in China shows older people could be more likely to develop severe symptoms

One in five people older than 80 could need hospitalization if they get infected with the novel coronavirus disease, a study from the early stage of the pandemic in China shows.

However, for children and teenagers, the number of those requiring hospitalization may be close to none, according to the research published in The Lancet.

The study also estimates that 6.4% of coronavirus patients older than 60 could die, but this could rise to 13.4% for those who are above 80 years of age.

In contrast, this figure was estimated to be 0.32% for younger people, says the research by Robert Verity of Imperial College, London, and others.

The research projects the overall death rate among all diagnosed cases to be 1.38%, higher than the fatality due to H1N1 influenza in 2009, but lower than that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

This death rate estimate was lower than the 3.67% projection based on cases confirmed in laboratories.

The authors said that they had corrected the figure to 1.38% after considering mild coronavirus infections as well, because in the early stages of the pandemic only severe cases or cases with travel history were otherwise being reported.

On the basis of case-level data using a sample of 24 coronavirus deaths in China by early February, the research estimates that it took an average of around 18 days between the onset of symptoms and death.

For covid-19 cases outside China, the study finds time from onset of symptoms to recovery to be 25 days on average.

The study also traces the spread of coronavirus among individuals sent from Wuhan to their respective countries, and estimates the death rate of such infected cases to be 0.66%.

Also read: Estimates of the severity of coronavirus disease 2019: a model-based analysis (bit.ly/3bKYV7Z)

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