The biggest threat posed by the new coronavirus is its rapid spread. However, its mortality is considered low, at around two percent; but we are talking about an average. Obviously, the lethality of any disease varies depending on several factors, such as the general health status of the patient (if any comorbidities occur), the patient’s age and the effectiveness of the local health system in which the patient is located.
Do you want to know if your characteristics put you at risk?
The most extensive study of patients so far with the new coronavirus (conducted in China with a sample of 70,000 infected) shows how the mortality rate increases progressively with age.
The following chart has been extracted from Worldmeter, a real-time statistic updated by an international group of researchers and volunteers:
As it can be seen, in adults under the age of 50, mortality is less than one percent. As age increases, so does the fatality rate, reaching 3.6% in patients over the age of 60; eight percent in those over the age of 70; and is close to 15% in patients over 80 years of age. In addition, elderly patients have a mortality rate of 21.9% in confirmed cases.
Interestingly, no cases of death have occurred in persons under the age of 9.
Why are children and babies less affected by coronavirus?
According to the specialist in Preventive Medicine, Daniel Orts, it seems that what happens with other viral diseases, such as measles or chickenpox, also happens with coronavirus, “its best to get it when you’re younger”.
"In adults, viruses usually have a more tender, symptomatic, and severe condition. In general, it is believed to be due to the characteristics of the immune system of children. They are less affected by viral diseases because their immune system is underdeveloped in a sense; it does not react as badly, or as severely as in adults. It is a fact that viral diseases in children are less symptomatic and less severe."
Does it affect men more than women?
This is a belief suggested by the Italian authorities. However, there is no evidence to support this allocation. In fact, the percentage of incidence by sex is 55% in men and 45% in women; a very unrepresentative difference.
How do comorbidities influence the virus?
We need to differentiate between death by coronavirus and death with coronavirus. Comorbidities or secondary diseases negatively influence the health status of the patient and weaken the immune system. This makes the patient more fragile, not only when contracting other infections, such as bacterial infections, but also when recovering from an infection of any kind.
Thus, as seen in the graph, also taken from Worldmeter, the mortality rate of COVID-19 increases as comorbidities occur.
It barely reaches one percent if there are no secondary diseases, but can reach 10% if cardiovascular disease occurs. Cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and hypertension are also considered as risk comorbidities.
Globally, three-quarters of all deaths so far from (or with) coronavirus are patients over 70 years of age or critical, chronically ill and with little life expectancy.