New study shows how the coronavirus impacts people in different age groups

 ·31 Mar 2020

A new study of the Covid-19 death and hospitalisations cases in China has provided some clarity on how the coronavirus impacts people of different age groups.

The study – which was published in The Lancet’s Journal of Infectious Diseases – focused on 70,117 laboratory-confirmed and clinically diagnosed cases from mainland China.

Using this data, the researchers found a total fatality rate of around 1.67%. However, the researchers noted that this fatality rate was disproportionately skewed towards older patients, with children under 10 reporting a fatality rate of less than 0.01%.

By comparison, the fatality rate for those who were in the 80 years+ group was found to be closer to 8%.

Similarly, less than 0.5% of patients between the ages of 10-19 required hospitalisation, whereas more than 18% of people in the 80+ age group did.

“Our estimates can be applied to any country to inform decisions around the best containment policies for Covid-19,” professor Azra Ghani, a co-author of the study, told The Guardian.

“Our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalisation is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal.”

Similarly, a study by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showed the hospitalisation rate by age group – taking data from 14 European countries.

South Africa had 1,326 confirmed coronavirus cases as of 30 March 2020 – day four of the nationwide lockdown. The country has reported a total of three deaths but government has not provided official information on the age of the deceased.

Addressing the nation on Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the number of infected people continues to grow. The president implored South Africans to stay at home for the next 17 days.

“Leave your home only if you need to get food, or essential provisions. If you do have to go out, make sure you do everything you can not to get infected, or to infect someone else.”

Globally, there have been over 800,000 reported cases of infection, with 38,749 deaths. While over 172,319 people have recovered from the virus, the majority of cases (589,993) remain active, where 30,289 people remain in serious or critical condition.


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