1 in 5 Has Health Issues That Impact COVID-19

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 17, 2020

Even though Covid-19 is typically more severe among older people, people of any age with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk if they contract the virus, the report added.

Now, a new study says about one in five people worldwide could have an increased risk of a severe case of the disease if they get infected due to their underlying health conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to the study published Monday in The Lancet Global Health.

Diabetes, HIV and other chronic ailments such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and respiratory disease were all found to affect a person's immune response to the coronavirus.

To estimate the risk of severe disease, researchers analyzed several datasets including data from 188 countries reported in a 2017 study that analyzed the global burden of diseases, injuries and risk factors and data from a United Nations population estimate for 2020, according to the report.

There are more than 2.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the USA, and more than 116,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

"These findings are consistent with previous reports that found that severe outcomes increased with age and underlying condition, and males were hospitalized at a higher rate than were females", the CDC wrote in its report issued on Monday. We hope our estimates will provide useful starting points for designing measures to protect those at increased risk of severe disease. While the research focused on underlying chronic health conditions, it left out some elements considered by many to be contributing risk factors, such as ethnicity and "socioeconomic deprivation", which are not included in all guidelines.

According to the study, four percent of the world's population - or 349 million people - would require hospitalization if infected. In short, this team of researchers from the US, UK, and China has determined that some 1.7 billion - or a little more than 20% of the global population, equating to about 1 in 5 people - are at an elevated risk of experiencing the worst symptoms associated with the virus.

Up to 30 percent of Americans with chronic conditions have required hospitalization after being infected with COVID-19, researchers have reported.

Countries and regions with younger populations have fewer people with at least one underlying health condition, while those with older populations have more people with at least one condition.

Scientists know that people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk of suffering severe consequences from COVID-19, but until now, it wasn't clear just how many people fall into that at-risk group.

Among the working age population - aged 15 to 64 years - 23 percent are estimated to have at least one underlying condition, they found. Of those at risk of hospitalization, less than one per cent are under 20 and almost 20 per cent are 70 and older.

In a commentary about the new research, a public health professor said an understanding of who is most at risk can provide an opportunity to "target mitigation strategies" and can help dispel the misconception that "everyone is at equal risk of severe illness". As the authors note, it is time to evolve from a one-size-fits-all approach to one that centres on those most at risk.

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