Senior citizens are more vulnerable to coronavirus infection: a wider study shows the elderly carry the highest risk

A study involving more than 44,000 COVID-19 infected cases reveals that the sick and elderly people carry the most risk. This is the most detailed study of coronavirus conducted so far since the pandemic’s outbreak in China towards the end of 2019. The study reports give us highly useful insights on what is happening right now around us as COVID-19 pandemic is spreading fast claiming its huge toll of lives and infecting a large populace across several geographies. Here are a few useful stats we learn from the study regarding the most dreaded pandemic of our times.

Result analysis of the study

The study by Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) shows that a total number of 1,023 deaths had happened among the 44,672 confirmed cases revealing a fatality rate of 2.3%. The 80+ age group reported the highest case fatality rate at 5.1%. The fatality rate was also high in cases of patients with pre-existing medical conditions like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory ailments, hypertension and cancer.

Findings in Italy

Coronavirus infection study results from Italy, a country whose population is composed of a bigger percentage of elderly shows that among the 105 patients who died from the virus, the average age was 81. An ICU physician said in the country that till the date when the results of infections were analyzed, there had been only two deaths of people who were below the age of 50.

Comparing the results

The findings in Italy squared with the other best data regarding the risks of COVID-19 infection published by the Center For Disease Control in China. Comparing between the two results from Italy and China, we discover that the disease appears to cause more deaths in people with every passing decade. Hence the conclusions go that elderly are at an increased risk of dying from the new coronavirus infections.

Possible reasons why coronavirus is more dangerous for senior citizens

Earlier studies related to SARS and MERS have also confirmed that the fatality rates were higher in case of older adults. Falling within the same category of coronavirus, SARS, MERS and COVID-19 have all caused more deaths in the elderly victims than in the younger ones.

Other pre-existing health conditions in senior citizens

Most senior citizens contacting coronavirus infections have other chronic health conditions like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes or other cardiovascular diseases that make it difficult for their bodies to cope up with the damages caused by the coronavirus. This can be understood in relation to the fact that year on year, a majority of flu deaths are found to occur in people who are 65 years or older.

Immune system weaken with age

The immune system weakens with age. Especially this is true with people’s ability to fight coronavirus. The flu virus causes most of the damages to the body on its own. On the other hand, most of the symptoms connected to coronavirus infections are actually the result of the body’s immune response. Though more studies are required in the lines of characterizing these reactions, the fact remains that coronavirus makes the older immune systems to trigger extra inflammation, which can bring about a cascading effect.


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