80% of US coronavirus deaths have been among people 65 and older, a new CDC report says - here's what it reveals about the US cases

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  • 80% of coronavirus deaths in the US so far have been among people 65 and older, according to a new report from the CDC.
  • The CDC looked at 4,226 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 16, and found that deaths, ICU admissions, and hospitalization rates were all higher among older Americans.
  • "The risk for serious disease and death from COVID-19 is higher in older age groups," the report said - that's similar to trends in China and South Korea.
  • However, the CDC cautioned that the findings are still preliminary, that it's still missing some data, and that testing has still been "limited."
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Americans ages 65 and older are suffering the highest rates of death and serious illness from the coronavirus, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Overall, 31% of cases, 45% of hospitalizations, 53% of ICU admissions, and 80% of deaths associated with COVID-19 were among adults aged ≥65 years with the highest percentage of severe outcomes among persons aged ≥85 years," the report said.
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The CDC said it had confirmed 4,226 COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths in the US as of March 16. As of Wednesday, a combination of CDC and state-level data suggests the US had more than 8,000 cases and 129 deaths. The numbers are likely to rise as testing efforts - which have been woefully slow in the US - continue to ramp up. Experts have estimated that 40%-70% of the US population could become infected and 1 million could die.

The CDC found that hospitalization and intensive-care admission rates have been higher among older Americans. More than 500 people - roughly one in eight of those with confirmed cases - have been hospitalized so far, and 45% of them were 65 or older.

The findings are "similar to reports from other countries," the report said, which have found that older people with preexisting conditions are disproportionately at risk. However, the CDC cautioned that its own results are preliminary, since it's still missing data on some of the patients' ages and other health issues and has only been able to conduct "limited testing."
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A study from the Chinese CDC found that coronavirus patients over 80 there had a death rate of 15% compared to 0.2% for those under 50. In South Korea, which has seen some of the lowest death rates, 7.2% of people over 80 have died, while only 0.1% of those under 50 - and no people under 30 at all - have been killed by the disease.

Here's a breakdown of how the coronavirus is affecting people of different ages within the US and across the world.
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The CDC's numbers suggest that nearly 1,200 cases have been reported among people older than 65, while nearly 1,700 patients are younger than that.

The CDC's numbers suggest that nearly 1,200 cases have been reported among people older than 65, while nearly 1,700 patients are younger than that.

However, the CDC said it still doesn't know the ages of nearly half of those with coronavirus.

(The 20-44 bracket in the chart above is a much larger age range than the others, which is why its case total appears high.)

Americans above 85 make up the largest portion of coronavirus cases when the data is adjusted for population size.

Americans above 85 make up the largest portion of coronavirus cases when the data is adjusted for population size.

The CDC has advised people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus to stock up on supplies and avoid venturing out of their homes except when necessary.

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The highest number of coronavirus deaths in the US is also among older Americans.

The highest number of coronavirus deaths in the US is also among older Americans.

Of the 44 coronavirus deaths the CDC analyzed, 20 were among people ages 65-84 and 15 were among those 85 or older. No one 19 or younger has died yet from the disease, according to the agency. A large number of deaths — at least 19 — have been connected to an outbreak at a nursing home in Washington.

The COVID-19 death rate in the US is above 10% for those over 85.

The COVID-19 death rate in the US is above 10% for those over 85.

The death rate of coronavirus is roughly 3.4% worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, but that number doesn't fully capture how deadly the virus can be for older populations.

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China has also seen the highest portion of coronavirus deaths among older patients.

China has also seen the highest portion of coronavirus deaths among older patients.

The chart above reflects the findings of a study by China's CDC that collected data from more than 44,000 confirmed coronavirus patients there through February 11.

South Korea has also seen higher deaths among older age groups, though it has reported lower death rates overall than most countries.

South Korea has also seen higher deaths among older age groups, though it has reported lower death rates overall than most countries.

South Korea's total death rate as of Wednesday is about 0.97%. That's far lower than the death rates in other countries. A major factor could be the country's extremely thorough coronavirus-testing policies.

As of Monday, the country had tested more than 274,000 people. That allows health officials and the public to pursue more effective and widespread quarantining of infected people and their contacts.

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Italy has been one of the countries most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Its population is the world's second-oldest, on average, after Japan's.

Italy has been one of the countries most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Its population is the world's second-oldest, on average, after Japan's.

Italy is under a nationwide lockdown, and its hospitals are overrun with coronavirus patients. On Wednesday, the country reported 475 new coronavirus deaths — the highest single-day death toll of any nation since the outbreak began.