FACT or FICTION?
COVID-19 severely affects the older population.
FACT: COVID-19 continues to perplex many doctors and scientists, with symptoms ranging from life threatening to none at all. Experts have concluded that age appears to be one of the risk factors. One recent analysis of Chinese data found that for patients 80 and older, the chance of death was more than 13%. For those in their 30s, it was about 0.15%, and for those under 20 it was almost zero. A study of early U.S. cases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had similar findings.
“We have seen consistent information that those who are 65 years and older have increased risk for severe disease,” says Dr. Segal-Maurer. “This is due to multiple reasons, including age itself and the impact on the immune system, additional comorbid conditions that are more prevalent with increased age, and increased possibility of living in a congregate setting, such as an assisted living home or skilled nursing facility.”
This doesn’t mean that COVID-19 doesn’t affect younger people. An early CDC report states that 20% of those hospitalized were between the ages of 20 to 44. And even though children have been less severely affected, the New York State Department of Health issued a warning May 6 about cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, which potentially is associated with COVID-19. While the condition remains rare, several children have died from it, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo advised parents to be on alert for symptoms including prolonged fever, rash, abdominal distress, vomiting, and diarrhea.